After a week of amazing runs, some alone, some with friends and some filled with beer…
…I went into my Saturday run in insanely warm temperatures with an overly positive mindset. Not only was it close to 60 degrees, but Noah and I were also in D.C., meaning we were about to set off along beautiful, nature-filled trails.
I expected full on glory. So you can imagine my frustration when the run was anything but. Here’s what went wrong, in no particular order.
1. On Monday morning, I hit a point when I momentarily couldn’t breathe. No big deal; I just took a second, caught my breath and kept on truckin’. On Saturday’s run, I couldn’t seem to catch it. I felt like I had been transported back to high school basketball, when those first few minutes of the game – sprinting from one end of the court to the other – would make me slightly asthmatic. Each time I fell into a comfortable pace, my chest tightened up, and I could feel air trying to move up through my throat, but it remained constricted and unnatural.
2. My toe. I still have no idea what’s wrong with my toe – whether it’s bruised, strained or broken – but it’s impeding on my normal foot strike and causing all sorts of problems. I’ve since taped my toes together to make a meager attempt to heal my aching little piggy.
3. Wardrobe malfunction. While a purple Free City sweatshirt (image of exact rouge garment above) may look comfy and feel trendy, rest assured, it is a horrible piece of clothing to run in. It’s much better for staring at fiery sunsets. I figured that, because it’s a hoodie, it’d be fine. I wasn’t planning on running for a long time anyway, and even though it was in the high 50’s, I still needed some form of outerwear. Once I heated up though, the material on the inside of the sweatshirt began to mix with my sweat, creating a weird Brillo-y texture that chafed my skin like woah.
4. I know I was excited to leave Manhattan for the weekend, but after only about 10 minutes of running on the quiet paths of Bethesda, I was ready to return home to Central Park. I immediately missed the cars, the buildings, the change of scenery and the hordes of energetic runners that line the park’s many winding loops. I guess without realizing it, the streets of New York City have really established themselves as my home territory, and I’m already excited for Tuesday morning’s run. It’ll probably look something like this, including my excitement.
5. All of the above made the fact that I had my worst run of the winter season on the hottest day of it made the whole situation that much worse. I wanted to feel good. I wanted to run strong. I wanted to feel the sun on my face, the mild air passing me by, and to crush whatever few miles I had set out to do in a breeze. The fact that I didn’t, on an amazing day in February, broke my heart. The few miles I did accomplish ultimately seemed like an utter failure, especially after such a strong week of running.
I know; that’s a lot of negativity for one blog post. And I also know that no one wants to read about the crappy and frustrating elements of running. But I have a point; hear me out.
I accepted this a long time ago: Not every run can be your best. That’s a huge part of why I love the sport so much. There are good days; there are bad days; there are days that make you want to throw your sneakers right here into the East River.
That’s what makes the good days so good though, and what makes the great days even that much more phenomenal. What’s truly important is to have the mindfulness to brush off those bad runs, because at the end of the day, as the saying goes, you can’t win ’em all.
It’s that glass-half-full mentality that got me through Saturday and on to Sunday, a day that, unlike Saturday, was cold, gray and blustery. Not feeling so hot from the night before (since when do 3 glasses of wine over the course of 5 hours cause hangovers?) Noah and I decided to blast our hangovers away with a quick run outside. The day before we had run in shorts and with no hats or gloves. Sunday, we geared up a bit more weather consciously.
Sunday’s run turned out to be just what I needed. Although we were running extremely slowly and with an incredibly handsome dog, we warmed up quickly, and were engrossed in mindless conversation the entire time. We didn’t run hard, long, or far, but we ran. And it felt really, really good to do just that.
Sunday night brought with it an amazing treat (besides a flour-less chocolate cake I must learn how to make): yoga, in the house in which I was staying, overlooking the Potomac River. It doesn’t get much better than that. A great workout without having to move more than 20 feet from the nearest bed? Yea, I’d take that any day.
I’d also take these cookies. Apparently, I will also run for glittery baked goods.
As for this week, my goal is to run without thinking. I think (there I go again) that I’ve been putting too much thought into my morning jogs, and that if I can be a little more playful with them, then I’ll be able to knock off those seemingly bad runs. Then again, if I can’t, the wheel always spins back. I will have a spectacular run sometime in the future. And I can’t wait.