A bad run is going to happen now and again, this much I’ve learned in the years since becoming a runner, but I didn’t realize how much of a pretty-darn-good streak I’d been having until this past weekend when I experienced a doozy of a run.
Everything pointed to a fantastic run—a break in the snowy cold snap we’d been having, glorious sunshine and bright blue sky, good friends joining me in hitting the pavement—and yet, I just couldn’t find my groove, mentally and physically, even as we ticked off miles 2, 4, 6…I mustered almost 8 miles, walking a couple of the neighborhood hills I normally climb with relative ease. Blame the Christmas cookies, the late nights of family movie-watching and overall lack of routine with kids off from school for two full weeks…or maybe it was simply a not-so-good run. Nothing more. Just that.
If you let it, a bad run can become all encompassing. You wonder crazy things like, “Have I lost it? Is my fitness deteriorating?” You might even go so far as think you’re out of your mind to even think about that goal of getting faster or going longer. Increase my speed? Ramp up my endurance? When I just ran like that? Right.
That’s why you’ve got to just get back out there and go for another run the next day. Or, the day after the next, which is what I did. Truth be told, after that icky run, I didn’t feel all that motivated to go again the next morning. I took the day to hang with my family, to immerse myself in a really great book, because I know myself and felt I could use a little perspective. As my college roommate Beth and I used to say, I needed to “get away from myself,” which I translated in this case to taking my focus off running, if only for a bit, and remember all of the other things and activities in my life that are important. I am a passionate runner, but I am more than this…and I’m definitely not going allow myself to be defined, even in the slightest way, by a crappy run.
When I was ready to get back out there, it was New Year’s Eve, and I wanted to feel good about finishing the year with a strong run. Surely this attitude helped my frame of mind as I laced up my shoes, strapped on the Yaks I’d taken off for the sunny, high 30s run that had derailed me a couple of days prior. I also was excited about listening to a running-related podcast I’d downloaded onto my phone. The skies were smudgy and the cold snap had returned in full force, but with my first step I knew this run would redeem my last.
I ran just ran over 5 miles that day, including a hilly 1-mile section of the route that I took nice and easy but with no walk breaks. And then yesterday, for my first run of 2014, I took another route, again tackling some hills in single-digit temps and was so grateful for the strength I felt. I knew I was in groove when I realized several miles had passed before I glanced at my watch. I felt so good I decided to go an extra mile or so, finishing at our driveway having logged 6.4 miles.
On these runs I thought about the year ahead and what I hope to accomplish. I’m still working out my race schedule, though two races I’m signed on for sure include the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in April and the Bayshore Marathon over Memorial Day weekend. I’m also eyeing a snowshoe race, spring and summer trail races, and hopefully my first swim-bike-run triathlon.
Being in the reflective state I was, I also thought a lot about this site and how it’s grown so much, particularly in recent months. I’m thrilled to be meeting so many other runners who love this sport and savor living and playing in Michigan as much as I do. I am grateful for the growing support, and I’m incredibly excited about the plans I have for Michigan Runner Girl. If you are a new reader, I want to welcome you. I am so happy you are here. And I invite you to join the conversation over on Facebook, where readership also continues to grow—I am just loving the comments and interaction over there! After reading this post, I hope you’ll check out a few other pages here:
- Learn more about me and how Michigan Runner Girl got started »
- Discover new places to run in Michigan by checking out the Mitten State Races page, and also by reading about Michigan runners’ favorite running routes in the My Michigan Run feature.
- Learn more about other Michigan runners and their accomplishments »
- Finally, if you’re interested in celebrating and honoring your love for running and Michigan, please check out the new MRG Shop page, where you can find Michigan Runner Girl stickers (there are a couple of options to choose from, so there’s something for both genders, I promise).
Thanks to each and every one of you for reading, following along, and for sharing your running journey with me. I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for all of us!