I was going to name this post "The ___ Run" with a word to go in the blank that would best sum up my experience.
However, everything leading up to and including the run itself was a combination of things, so many that I can't really accurately describe it one word, hence "The Run."
I finished my run. I got in 3.25 miles, which is what I needed to do to keep in line with my training plan. But as I mentioned in my post earlier, everything was up against me when I woke up this morning. Anyway, to help relieve some stress and anxiety that was pent up from this morning, and to avoid doing any actual housework, I'm going to try to best describe my run from the moment I left my 3-year-old daughter at her preschool.
On my way home, I couldn't help but think of how little I wanted to run. I was sneezing quite a bit and the faintness of a cold was just starting to settle in. My calf was not in pain but I could feel the spot where my wife's foot (her heel to be precise) made contact with my leg, just between the bone and the muscle.
It had been nearly three hours since I ate my energy bar, so I deduced that all the energy was gone from my body by then. I wasn't trying to find an excuse not to run but I wouldn't have had to have looked far had I wanted to.
Oh no? What's this?
I got stuck behind a line of cars waiting to get around some traffic construction near my house. That's all I needed, to get home well after 9:30. As it was I wasn't going to have a lot of time to get my run in and then get ready to get my older girl from kindergarten but getting home closer to 10 would have been mentally strenuous.
But I finally got home, right around 9:30, and immediately went inside to find my shoes. I put on some running socks, my shoes, grabbed my watch (my heart-rate monitor part that straps around my chest was already in place), the Vaseline and got ready. I was not going to change out of the t-shirt I had on so some Vaseline was in order.
Don't want any post-run souvenirs today.
It was cold so I grabbed some gloves and a beanie. I needed a long-sleeve something though but I don't have the widest selection. I found just two things that would work but both were remnants from my 300-pound days; both XXL sweatshirts. I actually threw one on and was going to run in it. But when I went to put my iPod on I said forget it.
Don't need any extra weight dragging me behind.
By the time I finally stretched and got out the door, it was after 9:40. Time was starting to become a factor, so I needed to get going. I walked my usual short distance to get my legs warmed up and started. I felt stiff as cardboard. It was cold and windy and my lips were already screaming for chap stick.
What about the music?
Oh great. I'd actually started my run without music. That's how focused I was on the distractions, or rather that's how much the distractions caused me to lose focus. I had my iPod strapped to my arm but it was silent. I decided on The Killers because I needed something soothing yet rhythmic and I had just listened to Flogging Molly, so DJ Bueno settled on The Killers.
Just put it on Hot Fuss and move on.
The first song of the album started playing but I heard a combination of "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" and wind scraping in my ear. I tried to turn it up and then heard my left earpiece go quiet.
No! Forget it, I'll suffer the wind.
My earpiece has been going out on me forever and sometimes I ruin it by messing with the volume. I decided I'd rather listen to wind and music on both ears than music on one ear and wind on both.
All right, 1:07 in. Yay.
I didn't want to be discouraged but I had only gone one minute and all that had happened. But I plugged along, trying to let the music distract me, trying to just get into a rhythm and forget about the distractions. It was tough but around eight minutes I finally started to feel... I won't say good but felt more comfortable.
I was around the mile mark and that always helps me. The first mile is my hardest mile so now I was encouraged to push on. I turned the corner and started a long ascent up a hill. I encountered one major obstacle: the wind. Now, it wasn't something that was present before then but then again I had houses and walls to slow the wind. Now, I was getting a mouthful of wind and I was jogging slowly, but not by choice. I just couldn't break through the wind.
Still, I made it up to the turnaround point, the entrance to a golf club, and went down the other side of the street. I eventually got past the final traffic light and began the last leg of the trip, which I always take in relative solitude. My route takes me behind the entire subdivision of homes and it's heavy traffic if I encounter two or more cars there.
This is where the glory is.
Maybe not on the backside of our tract but running alone, running early in the morning, running without anybody to witness my feat... that's where the glory lies. I'll run in the half marathon, sure. I'll run in the Mud Run and in another race or three this year. But merely participating in that won't matter if I don't do the dirty work first. If I don't get out and run, no matter what obstacles might try to stop me from doing so, then I won't be able to run the races as I would like. Glory for me is meeting my goals, overcoming challenges, exceeding expectations. The tangible part of running is the time you ran the race in. And while that is important, it's also important to put yourself in a position where you can finish a race and meet your goals at the same time, whether it's a time you want to meet or just finishing the race, period.
And for me, that only comes when I put in the miles like I did today.