First off, what not to do: As we were running 5 miles, and will be continuing to increase the mileage on our long runs, I've been trying to figure out how to eat something substantial before those runs, when, in actuality, I am not a good eater early in the morning. I've been managing to choke down half a Clif bar before we leave to meet up with the running club, and this past Saturday I went for broke and ate the entire thing. Go me - more fuel for the 5 miles, right? Well, not so much...around 2.5 miles, I started feeling like I was going to vomit - that bar kept climbing higher and higher in my throat, and I ended up (disgustingly, to those around me, I might add) retching and had to stop and walk while trying to see if it was going to come back up. It didn't, but I felt pretty crummy, and it was hard to get started running again. And yes, it was hot, blah blah blah - 82 degrees when we started at 6:00 am (moral of that story is you can't win when it comes to running in Texas in August) - but I could have endured, had I not felt so bad halfway through. And then came the head games...how I really blew that run, I'm not a good runner, I should just stick to 2 miles - I'm sure most of you know the drill when it comes to self-doubt and flagellation.
I finished the run and after several cold cups of water and a couple of ice-cold washcloths later, I started to feel human again. I had a headache the rest of the day, though, so I was probably overheated, which I'm sure didn't help anything. It happens - even with everything we try to do to ward it off, it just comes with running this time of year.
Later on, I uploaded my Garmin - and saw that I finished that run in 1:07 - really? I then looked in my training journal for my previous 5 mile runs, which were in early June - both of those clocked in at 1:06. Wow. Even with the stopping, walking, retching and general malaise, I was not that far off from my other 5 milers. That reminded me of how, back when I was actively dieting, counting calories, and keeping a food journal, if I had a "bad" meal, or snacked on something that wasn't on plan, I felt like I'd blown the entire day UNTIL I entered everything into my food journal. Then, I could see that I hadn't done irreversible damage to my diet and that it wasn't, in fact, nearly as terrible as I'd made it out to be in my mind.
How many times have you quit your diet because of a bad day of eating? How many times have you given up on a sport because of a bad workout? I've done it many times, and I know it's not just me. Saturday's run was a good reminder that in reality things are never as bad as they are in my mind if I let myself go there, and unfortunately on Saturday, I went there.
The nice thing about running is that for every bad run, there's usually a good run that follows, and my 2 miler on Monday was perfectly fine, and my second mile was the fastest I've done since coming back to running. Hills yesterday? Done. Jeff is even in town this week and got to do them with our group - fun times, fun times. OK, fun when we're done. Still, I'd rather be running than any other sport, and I'm so glad I can run now. So I'll take the bad with the good over nothing at all. And try and learn from my experiences.