Throughout the run, when I wasn’t engaged in dazed attempts at Jungian dream analysis, I was dwelling on a toxic encounter at work, my muscles were tight, my hips were aching, my stomach was off, my attitude sucked, and I couldn’t wait for the run to be over.
I have never felt that way about running before. The long runs are usually a highlight of my week. Just last weekend we ran a technically more taxing 16 miles of hill after hill after (seriously ANOTHER? WhoMADE this forest?) hill, and I still felt like that chipper little guy on the box of Lucky Charms when it was over.
I AM A HAPPY RUNNER, DAMN IT. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY GREEN CLOVERS AND PURPLE HORSESHOES?
When I saw the end of mile 20 on Saturday, I did what I refer to as the FTS Dash* to the finish.
*The Fuck-This-Shit Dash (n.): A “feels-like-a-sprint” but is actually just a slightly speeded up version of the pathetic grannylope you’d been doing the 19.9 miles before, all for the sake of getting a run over and done with before your skeleton turns to ash.
When I got home, I released 20 lbs of ice into a cold bathtub and climbed in with a stop watch in one hand and The Gifts of Imperfectionin the other, yes I did. And if you’ve ever questioned whether ice baths really work or are just some bullshit hazing ritual or runner’s right of passage, question no more. An ice bath is nothing short of a miracle. A very cold miracle. Was blind but now I can’t feel my pelvis.
I went into that ice bath feeling like this:
I am trying not to let one crappy run pin an Eeyore tail on the remainder of my training, but I am also the kind of person who feels like a complete and utter failure if I can’t carry all of the groceries in from the car in one trip. Regardless of how many dozens of bags I have, I know that if I can just cast aside my need for blood circulation … for one ... more … minute … I can get this … last bag … wrapped around my … left … wrist … LARRY OPEN THE DOOR AND BEHOLD THE CHAMPION PACK MULE YOU MARRIED. BOO YAH!
So, the fact that I am capable of feeling like a loser after running 20 miles is … unsurprising. But also scary. There should be laws against that sort of thing.
This Saturday we run as far as we’ll go before the race. Twenty-two (magically delicious!) miles.
If, between now and then, you have any advice about how to shake off the dark clouds of doubt that follow a poor performance ... or how to meditate like a monk while maintaining a 9 minute mile ... I’ll gladly take it.
Same goes for your leftover Percocet.