Today before work, I hopped on a treadmill to run eight miles. I resort to the treadmill for some of my “shorter” runs to keep a steady, faster pace and to cut down on the time it takes to drive around and find a good spot to run. While I was running, I kept thinking about the last couple of weeks and how I haven’t been able to hit my workout goals for multiple reasons. I’m finding it hard to stay motivated for runs that stretch into hours and hours, and I feel like quitting after two hours, with just another minute left. It’s amazing the things we think and say we can’t do, but looking back, that minute means nothing in the grand scheme of the day.
Any time I’ve done a treadmill run, it usually ends around the same time that other people are getting ready for work. They always ask me how the heck I could run that far on a treadmill. I don’t even know how to answer them. Today was difficult, but knowing that I needed something to write about for the next blog post that didn’t center on quitting, I didn’t really have an excuse not to finish all eight miles. But it hurt. I’m still not 100 percent recovered from this cold, and I have been so busy that my diet isn’t exactly adequate. I’m sitting through meetings all day and feel incredibly nauseous all the time. I probably need more chocolate milk or bananas or tacos or pizza or cheeseburgers or, really, every type of food in existence.
My Knees Still Haven’t Forgiven Me We completed 18 miles this weekend and I wasn’t happy about losing energy the last five miles or so. I know I can blame this cold, but sometimes it’s easier to beat myself up. It’s kind of ridiculous because any type of mileage is a win, and these miles aren’t just hard; at one point in my life they would have been impossible.
I can’t help but think back to a 10-mile race I ran in 2012, the Broad Street Run. It’s still to this day one of my favorite races even though I did such a poor job. I finished, which was the only thing that mattered at the time, but my pace … yikes. My overall time was 2:11:27. My sister, having finished 45 minutes prior to when I limped across the finish line, didn’t think I had actually completed the race. She tends not to worry about me when I don’t show up at a given place at a certain time, even when I have her kid in tow and get lost around Boston without calling her. But I think she got a little nervous this particular day.
I remember this race well probably because I was in so much pain throughout it, and I felt even worse afterward. I had just started running, and even though I had trained, I was not prepared. Stretching was a foreign concept and when my IT bands started to hurt, I assumed that’s what happens after you run – you’re in massive amounts of pain.
My knees began to ache around mile two because said IT bands were already so tight. Yet, I kept going. I probably did those first two miles at a decent enough pace, around 10 minutes per mile or so. Then I started slipping – 11 minutes, 12 minutes, 13 minutes. It got to a point where I was getting passed by walkers even though I kept picking up my feet to “run.” Picture someone running in slow motion. That was me. I kept splashing cups of water on my face for motivation. A ton of great musicians lined the course, which helped. But the pain was unrelenting and almost unbearable.
When I finally crossed the finish line and found my sister, the jokes ensued. I was at a point where I could no longer bend my legs. And, we had to descend an endless amount of stairs to get back to her place. She was about to jump on a plane to head to the beach, and I needed to go back home to Albany. I looked like a zombie – straight legs, blank stare, groaning – it wasn’t pretty.
After that race I promised myself that I never had to run another one again. I’m not sure how it got to the point where not only have I run multiple races, but I signed up and am training for this marathon. Despite the setbacks and temptation to quit, I’m actually having fun so far.
I Got This Looking at the mileage I have left, it’s getting a lot easier to comprehend the remaining major weekend runs coming up: two weekends of 20, mixed in with a handful of 12 and 13 miles. I think I can do this. No, I can do this.
Lauren, second from left, gets a muscle massage from fellow trainee, Jenny Williams, after running a grueling 18 miles. Despite illnesses and various aches and pains, this extraordinary team pushes on and refuses to quit.