Running is Hard

PPIE 15k Recap

The fog along the trail.

The fog along the trail.

I hadn’t planned on running a 15k race (9.3 miles) two weeks after a half marathon. But it was the school fundraiser and my running partner — a teacher in the district — had already signed up for the 15k. “I wish you’d run it too!” she texted while I was on spring break, eating my way through the Pacific Northwest. Well, I couldn’t do my early Saturday run because of baseball, so sure! Why not?

I’ll tell you why not: my body wanted no parts of this race.

The three of us looked awfully relaxed beforehand. Much less so later.

The three of us looked awfully relaxed beforehand. Much less so later.

The 15k course started early, in the fog, and looped the 5k course before shifting to the 10k course. There were only about 200 of us doing the 15k, probably because most distance runners did Livermore two weeks earlier, and the rest were running the 5k with their kids.

We weren’t even half a mile in, silent and lungs burning, before I said, “I try never to judge a run by the first mile, but jeez… this one isn’t looking good!” She was as dead as I was. “We’ve done this before, haven’t we? C’mon, body! Let’s do this!”

I would have been perfectly happy to stop at 5k, but we kept going. It was the first painful run of the year. Everything was barking at me: my right knee, my left hip, that knot that was forming in my shoulder, the stitch in my side, the hot spot under the toe on my right foot.

No wonder the first mile sucked. We never run a sub-10:00/mile pace!

No wonder the first mile sucked. We never run a sub-10:00/mile pace!

By the time we were at the 8-mile mark, my only goal was to cross the finish line and not be the last one. (We weren’t, but it sure felt like that was a possibility.)

We finished the race and agreed to much shorter runs in the coming weeks while I let my body bounce back. Then I went to meet the family for breakfast and ibuprofen.

I’m a little floored by our time. My normal “good” distance pace is around 12:20. Here I am, logging 11:27/mile, even when I feel like my body has nothing in the tank. What’s happening here? And will the pace be enough to help me overcome a really crappy-feeling run?

Now I have yet another bib and medal to add to my collection. I have nearly enough to make the race bib tote bag that I’ve wanted to attempt for eons, but now I’m thinking that maybe I’d rather make a smaller, everyday purse with my more interesting race bibs first. You know, with all of my free time. Riiiiiight.

Any races for you this weekend? And how do you bounce back from a run that just feels horrid?

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2 Responses

  1. Lori says:

    I think it’s so important to make peace with the idea that there will be bad runs. When I was running with a training group in Pensacola, our coach would ask us during our Tuesday night run how our long run on Saturday went and one guy, every single time, would say “No such thing as a bad run!” Our coach would always say he couldn’t quite agree with that. For me, it’s important to understand that there will be bad runs because otherwise it’s too easy to feel like I’m a bad runner when they happen. I like to think of it in Heather Armstrong’s words: Running didn’t take its meds today. Then I can just move on without dreading the next run. Congrats on a fast run, even if it was a painful one.

  2. Alisa says:

    I was due for a bad one. This whole winter has gone much too smoothly. I really have no right to complain.