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February 10, 2009
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That’s how I felt today.

I took yesterday off, figuring running 23 miles on Saturday, basically at race pace, merited an extra day’s rest. I went to bed later than I should have yesterday, reading A Race Like No Other, and though I didn’t bound out of bed, I finished my study on Leviticus and headed out the door fully intending to put in my 9 miles.*

Warmed up with my usual 3 to 5 minutes of walking, but as soon as the strides lengthened into the bouncier running stride I knew I was in trouble–my muscles were tired. Sore. By the end of the second block, they wanted to drag me home. Instead of the 9-mile turnaround, I decided to stay closer to home, just in case.

Lots of walking breaks later, just past the one-mile marker, I did it–I threw in the towel. I’ve never done that on a run before.

Don’t get me wrong–I’ve dialed back the pace on plenty of intervals, and traded speedwork days for easy days when I didn’t feel like pushing the pace. I’ve done six miles on days I was supposed to do eight. I’ve run 10:40’s when my training pace is supposed to be 9:30. But quit and decide to go for a walk instead? Never. Until today.

But you know what? I was tired. Just so, so tired. Tired of running. Tired of pushing myself. And every rationalization fit. I’m sore from too long a long run (why did I run 23 miles?). I’m tapering. I’d rather be able to run tomorrow. Walking is better than nothing.

So I walked. For about a mile. It wasn’t a great feeling; I passed more runners today than ever before. Sprightly, bouncy runners on their happy loops around the neighborhood. Thin, ponytailed runners on their incredibly fast treks around the lake. Muscled, baseball-wearing young men eating the miles with their biomechanically perfect strides.

And I was walking.

I felt like apologizing to the whole running universe. No, I really am a runner. I ran 23 miles on Saturday, see. I know. Broke every marathoning law. Stupid, I know, but I’m a rookie, what do I know?

After the humble walking mile, I clicked my Garmin and tried again. I won’t say it was easier, but it was possible, and this time my pace was closer to 10:30 instead of 12 minutes. Though I thought about adding another mile, I just couldn’t stomach the idea of any more running strides. I just ran home.

And that, my friends, was my humbling run today.

There are six miles on the schedule tomorrow. What will I accomplish? I’m not sure. I’m going to lace up my shoes and set out with no agenda. If I run, I run.

*This week’s original plan: 9 on Tuesday, 6 on Wednesday, 8 on Thursday, 4 on Friday, 12 on Saturday, for a total of 39 miles. It seems funny now.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 21, 2009 12:52 pm

    Shortened runs are a bummer — I did a similar thing this morning as my schedule was a 12-miler but I shortened it to 9.5. There are just days when that’s all you can do. I don’t like it, either, but “hivyo ndivyo maisha yalivyo” (that’s just the way life is). And, you did do almost a marathon just 2 days earlier and the “experts” say to take an easy week or two after a marathon.

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