All people who have run more than once know that there are the days where you’re just amazing and everything falls into place and you feel like you could run forever and Queen is just playing “We Are the Champions” in your head the whole run and you finish and throw your arms in the air like “fuck yeah, I’M AWESOME.” The buzz will last you forever, it’s what keeps runners running. That’s like, .001% of your runs so naturally if you don’t really run you probably won’t experience many if any of these runs.
Then there are the middle of the road runs, the ones where you don’t have the aforementioned feeling but it still felt fine, you’re glad you did it, it’s done, time to get pancakes. These are the bulk of your runs. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible, it was tolerable. Another one bites the dust, if you will.
No one likes to talk about the third category of runs. Runners dread it. It’s the run that sucks. There’s no debate, there’s no question about whether or not this run was okay, this run just flat out fucking sucks and you just spend the entire run counting down hundredths of a mile til you can stop and lay down on your floor. These are the runs where you get the joys of mentally beating yourself up for an extended period of time, too. And don’t be confused, you can usually see these wrecks of a run in the first quarter mile, but you’re a runner so of course you ignore all the warning signs.
The thing about marathon training is that if you have a run in the third category and it happens to be your 18 mile run, that’s a lot of misery to pack into one weekend morning. And if you for some reason think you’re getting your wind and energy back when you hit 9 miles at your turn around point so you decide to go ahead and run an extra mile to make it 20… Well, you my friend are in for a looooooong crappy run. But you have options. You can cut the run short and just head home or you can try and salvage your run. If you happened to do this run on an out and back running path, you brought no money/metro fare, and the only way to get home is to turn around and start moving… Well, you salvage the run by running/walking the shit out of the next 7 miles.
Bet you’re wishing you’d brought water by mile 14, aren’t you? Mm hm.
The thing about a crappy really long run is that not only does your run suck (and you will always know when a runner had a bad run, always) but then you feel like, “I just wasted precious weekend hours doing this shit?! I GOT UP EARLY FOR THIS!” In retrospect, this run gives you time to examine your actions. Maybe I should’ve eaten more than just Jax cheese doodles the day before my run… Or, maybe I should’ve actually consumed water on Friday instead of just a single can of diet coke. Maybe I should’ve eaten something before I came out for this run. The legs feel like lead, but fear not, for the mind continues to race.
But runners are an ever hopeful lot, so while you’re beating yourself up for your crappy run you’re also always telling yourself, “you know what this means, I’m due for an amazing run anytime now. It’ll happen.” Don’t deny it, we’ve all been there. I currently live there.
Here’s to hoping all your miles were magic this weekend! Mine certainly were. Bad, black, voodoo magic but magic nonetheless!