To prepare for the 10k that I’m running in a couple of weeks — whoa, make that next weekend (!) — I’ve eased some weekend long runs into my routine. Come race day, I want to focus on the race, not whether I’ll be huffing and puffing at the 6-mile marker.
How very far away my past marathon training seems.
Last Saturday, I waited a prudent length of time after a short-lived but messy winter storm flung itself across northeast Albuquerque, then laced up my running shoes. I had a touch of cabin fever, so I was looking forward to getting out in the fresh air and just moving. Not only that, but I was also looking forward to a change of scenery. During the week, the cold air and setting sun tend to stifle my spirit of adventure, so I keep those runs close to home. On the weekends, I venture out. It’s what we winter runners live for, no?
Beware the overly-anticipated run!
It was…not great. I ran an out-and-back route, and felt sluggish the whole time. Headwinds not only made progress more challenging, they also turned mild temperatures into legit wintry ones. I had a stitch in my side going out, and ahem, other stomach complaints coming back.
The only silver lining: the sun was shining! (Is that gold lining?)
Not to say this was a BAD run; oh no. All of those hiccups are just part of the great long-term adventure known as running. But put them all together, and the run was decidedly blah.
This happens. Despite what we see on social media and Runner’s World ads, not every run is fabulous (no matter how long you’ve been running, this can STILL be a slap in the face). Not every run results in a training log entry filled with smiley faces and exclamation points and hearts (I’m not the only one who draws pictures in my training log, am I?). Occasionally the log entry is laced with profanity, or the run is so uninspiring that writing it down hardly even seems worth the effort. Sometimes that feeling lingers over weeks, months, or an entire year’s worth of running.
That’s not the point. The point is keeping at it. The point is that we persist through unpleasant runs, annoying runs, and especially — especially — downright unremarkable runs, and we come back. We lace up our shoes again the next day. We keep our appointment for next weekend’s long run.
And by keeping at it, we carry that spirit of tenacity into other areas of our lives. Our relationships, our jobs, our friendships — maybe they’re not always full of smiley faces and exclamation points and hearts. Maybe we want to curl up and duck for cover in the face of a headwind.
But we don’t. And there’s something to that.
Kristin Armstrong, one of my favorite writers, closed her latest post with something I thought worth sharing:
“For now, right this minute and going forward, we’re taking the pressure off. Just keep showing up, that’s all.”