I promise this is not going to become a running blog.
But I made myself go for a run tonight even though the last one made me want to cry. Cry twice, even. Once because the pain in my side was so severe and twice because I saw it is a failure and didn’t enjoy myself at all.
It is worth noting that my husband is training for an ultra marathon right now. He can run for hours. Faster than me. And I wasn’t able to see how my body was going to carry past two miles. So that in itself will make a person like me compare myself and want to give up.
He is loaded with good advice and has been nonjudgmental with my varying success in running. Today before I went he just kept reiterating to take it slow, walk when I needed to, and to be very focussed on moving my feet and be aware of how the heat was affecting me (90 degrees today).
I walked briskly to warm up for a few blocks and then began to run. I was feeling incredibly good - a nice, even pace and no side splits until my turnaround point about a mile in. Just as I got to the turnaround the cramps in my diaphragm started.
"No big deal," I thought. It was time to walk a little bit anyway. so I walked a block and a half and turned around intending to run the rest of the way back for a total of two miles. The cramps, which subsided while walking, started up immediately and sharply. I fought through it for two blocks and then had to start walking again. This is where a little black cloud started to hover above me and I considered again that maybe I am just not a runner. It was the downhill portion and I couldn’t even muster one foot in front of another as each jarring step intensified the pain in my side. Walked two more blocks until the pain was managed and then with no faith at all told myself I would run again at the next intersection.
I started running slow and steady, exhaling in long slow streams and inhaling deeply but not sharply, until suddenly I found a rhythm and my body felt warm (not from the heat, but from the inside somehow…). When I got to my block where I could have turned and headed home, I didn’t want to because I was feeling so calm and rhythmic. I added 10 blocks roundtrip to my run and wound up at home feeling as though I still had steam and still felt good. In contrast, my last two runs were shorter and absolute murder until I stumbled to my door and was so thankful it was over.
It reminds me of the age old complaint about people new to jiu jitsu feeling that they should be able to “beat” those who have been doing it longer because they are bigger and stronger or just have that kind of mentality. It is always so frustrating because it feels like they aren’t respecting the enormous amount of work that goes into training religiously for a few years. Like, I didn’t just walk in here able to beat anyone. I put in my time, and you have to, too. It strikes me that running is the same - to compare myself to my husband who has been training his ass off for a couple of years to get to the point he is now is a useless thing to do. There simply is no comparison. I must have respect for the training runners put into their craft. I hope I’m finally getting that.