My go-to running route these days is something I mark in my training log as “NL x 2.”
[Side note: I firmly believe in keeping a training log even when I’m not training for a specific race. It holds me accountable and it’s satisfying. And yes, I have logged “dance party in the kitchen” in there on more than one occasion.]
“NL” stands for “Neighborhood Loop.” It’s a loop I invented shortly after moving to our current home, and running it twice covers a distance of around four miles. I like it because:
- This distance feels good to me right now.
- At no point on the loop am I that far from home.
- It’s hilly. Hills keep me honest.
- No traffic lights to deal with, and no major intersections at all.
- Overall pretty quiet.
It’s not perfect – it could stand some more shade, like most of Albuquerque – but it serves me well.
On Wednesday, my plan was to run that loop after work. Well. After work, my motivation hung somewhere between gutter and curb-level. I needed inspiration, fast, so I did what many runners have probably done this week: I pulled up the videos of the women’s 1500m final and women’s steeplechase final from the recent Track & Field World Championships.
Now that was some running!
It worked well enough to get me into my running clothes and out the door. Water bottle in hand, I commenced trotting. The run started okay, but…my motivation dwindled. My energy dwindled. It occasionally flared back up, but irritably, not joyfully or peacefully. I told myself, “Finish one loop – one loop! – and see how you feel then.”
I finished one loop, and I knew I was done running for the day. I wasn’t ready to completely throw in the towel, though, so I branched off from the loop and walked for a bit. This continued for a couple of blocks. Then I asked myself what exactly I was doing.
Was I trying to prove something to myself? Would anything terrible happen by cutting this workout short? If I wasn’t feeling that day’s run, couldn’t it be that perhaps my body was trying to talk to me, and perhaps I should practice what I preach all. the. time. and actually listen to it?
Tired of all the questions, and tired in general, I turned around and walked home. When I was half a block away, I saw Robin Hood step out of our garage. Knowing that normally I would be running up our cul-de-sac, not walking, he came towards me, and as soon as we were within arms’ reach, gave me a big hug.
We went inside. I drank some electrolytes. I took a shower. I reminded myself of one of running’s most beautiful truths, shamelessly stolen by Scarlett O’Hara: Tomorrow is another day.
I gave myself a little grace. I recommend that to all of you.