Running this week sucked.
There’s really no other way to put it. Honestly, this was one of the worst weeks of running I’ve had, certainly since I started running more seriously last year, possibly ever. The oppressive heat and humidity made each tenth of a mile feel like ten miles and turned me into an incredibly frustrated and discouraged runner.
This is how I felt post-run on Monday:
It was my best run this week. If you had told me that on Monday, I would’ve laughed. Or more likely, I would’ve cried, since I really didn’t believe it could get much worse than Monday. I started with a 10:48 mile, which made me happy enough, because under normal circumstance I would be able to maintain that pace with no problem for three miles. But it was late afternoon, and it was hot, and I was tired, so instead I turned in two more awful miles at 11:41 and 11:55. In the moment, I was disgusted with my times. Looking at them now, I wish I could’ve kept that up all week.
This is how I felt post-run on Wednesday and Saturday:
Because of the Fourth, I had Wednesday off work and took that opportunity to run in the morning. I imagined it’d be cooler in the morning, and it actually was: cooler than the 100 we got up to later in the day. However, it was by no means cool. When I set out, I had every intention of running the full three miles anyway. Since I trained for my 10K in May, I really consider anything under a 5K to be an easy and attainable distance, so I wasn’t too worried about this run.
As soon as I took my first step, I knew I was in trouble. Even though my apartment is air-conditioned, my building is not. That means that the workout room does not have air conditioning (DUMB. SO DUMB), so on Tuesday I did a Jillian Michaels workout for cross training (DUMB. SO DUMB). My legs felt like lead when I started running on Wednesday. I figured it would go away as I got into my run, but it didn’t.
For the first time since I re-started my running career last June, I had to stop and walk. There have, of course, been times between then and now where I have walked, but all of those times were not because of exhaustion but because that’s what my training plan told me to do.
I planned on taking one short walk break and then running the rest of the way, but that clearly did not happen. I was annoyed with myself, but I knew ultimately 1) it was safer and smarter for me to walk, and 2) while these weekday runs are important, what really makes you capable of running any distance race are long runs. At that point, I still had hope that Saturday’s run would go well.
I got up early again today in hopes of avoiding the predicted heat on my planned five miler. The hall outside my apartment was hot and stuffy, so I knew before I got outside that it was going to be another tough run. I planned on paying close attention to my body and doing what I had to do to stay safe.
My first mile really went well. I ran a 10:49, which is right where I like to be for my long runs. I was hot, of course, but I was feeling all right. Mile 2 was a bit tougher, but I still ran a 11:17, which again is perfectly normal for my long runs. As I kept going, I felt a lot hotter, it was beginning to hurt my chest to breathe, and, worst of all, I hit a long stretch with absolutely no trees and no protection from the sun.
I decided to take a brief walk break when I turned around at mile 2.5. I planned to walk half a mile and then run the remaining two home.
That did not happen.
I found that after walking .1 miles, breathing would hurt less and I felt capable of running again. As soon as I started to run, though, everything would nosedive and I’d be running so slow (we’re talking a 13 minute pace here, people. Even I’m not okay with that) that I might as well have been walking and not hurting, so I would do that. I managed to run three-quarters of my fourth mile and one-third of my fifth mile for a grand total of just over 4 miles of running.
Not only was I physically exhausted, but I was just killing myself mentally during and after today’s run. I may be a slow runner, but I am absolutely not a quitter. While not pushing yourself beyond your safe limits may not necessarily be quitting, I felt like I quit because it was too hard, not because it was too dangerous. From there, things just spiraled down into all sorts of negative thoughts. Today’s run put an awful end on a week of terrible running, which made me seriously question whether or not I’m going to be capable of running the Chicago Half in September. Heck, I was questioning whether or not I’d be able to run the BTN Big 10K in two weeks on today’s run, never mind a half marathon. Running and exercise are normally great stress relievers for me, but today it just made me more angry, which made me feel helpless and incapable of changing my mood. And, just because I clearly wasn’t down on myself enough by this point, I thought today would be a great time to start noticing how many other women were running in just their sports bras and shorts and elite-runner-looking bodies, which, even though I was fully clothed, just made me feel like more of a failure because no matter how hard I work to look like that, it doesn’t seem to happen.
I may or may not have been in tears by the time I got back to my apartment.
So yeah. Running wise, things could be going a lot better. I’m hoping the crazy cooldown that started at mile 4.90 of my run/walk today with the first cool breeze in over a week will at least allow me to run without feeling on the brink of death. I know a good run would do wonders for my morale.
I don’t really have any questions to ask, but if you made it all the way here in this too-long, too-picture-less post, I applaud you.