Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Embracing the Suck

Sometimes running sucks. Sometimes it's the most miserable thing I can imagine doing. Sometimes when I'm running I think this will be my last run ever because I'm horrible at it and it's not fun very often. Why would I keep doing it? There are times that running is painful and sometimes it makes me sick. Sometimes it has me on the side of the road puking (remember the peach rings?) and wondering if I will make it home without calling for a ride.

I'm learning from those runs though. I'm learning that I can keep going even when I want nothing more than to stop. Really horrible runs teach me so much more than the good ones do. Every once in a while I have a run where all of the stars align and I run along grinning like an idiot and thinking I could go on forever. More often I have runs that go just fine, nothing out of the ordinary. Then there are the bad ones. It is during those bad ones that you learn something. I was discussing this with someone the other day and I decided everyone needs some suck when it comes to running. It's going to happen eventually and often happens during a race. Quite often something happens during a race that causes a setback. If you never have to overcome an obstacle in training how do you overcome one racing?

I mentioned puking on the side of the road. After doing that I had a lot of people tell me that would be a deal breaker for them. They would quit running and couldn't imagine how I went on. Really, in the grand scheme of how umcomfortable running can be that's not a big deal. I felt better after I was done. I wasn't going to quit running because of it. There was a time I would have. Not so much now. Last Saturday during my long run I started having stomach cramps. I needed to go to the bathroom. Problem? I was 5 miles from town on the highway in the middle of nowhere. I was headed to my mom's house so I called her. She came and picked me up. There have been times where that happened and I gave up. I would quit running. I'm really trying to run no matter what though and stop making excuses. After I did what I had to do (I know, tmi) I got back out there and ran more. I didn't end up going quite as far as I planned, but the important thing is that I didn't stop at 6 miles (it took her long enough to get there that I ran another mile). I went another 3.6 miles for a total of 9.6. My original goal was 11, so not far off.

In September I have every intention of finishing my 50K. I know there will be times that I don't want to or don't think I can keep going. I've been on that trail. I imagine it will happen several times. If I don't learn to push through the misery while training how can I do it during a race? Therefore, I've decided to embrace the suck. I'm still not going to like it when a run is horrible, but I vow that unless it is dangerous in some way to go on I'm going to keep going. I will persevere through miserable conditions so that on race day when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and die I will keep moving forward. I am going to become a stronger runner and stop quitting when the going gets tough. Most of the time anyway. I suspect I will still abandon runs early on occasion. I will still complain loudly when things aren't going my way. I still might not finish the 50K. I'm not going to give up without a fight though.

And for all of you that are right now wondering why I keep running if it is miserable, well, it isn't always. Most of the time it's very enjoyable.

Cross training update: I'm still doing it. I'm kicking some cross training booty as a matter of fact.

Happy Running!


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