I ran one of the best races of my running life on Saturday.
It was the Tomato 5k in East Nashville, and I had decided to do it somewhat last minute (if you don’t know me, I’m a planner and “last minute” meant three days before). I had friends I was running with, and I knew the course because it was like my home turf with my beloved running group. I wanted to PR and knew I would unless some dire situation happened like missing the gun because I was peeing, or being tripped by a novice rollerblader. Especially with my new
baby Garmin, I would be unstoppable.
For my own abilities, I pretty much was unstoppable. My first mile was the fastest I’ve ever known to run: 6:51. From there I kept it consistently under 7:30 to finish the 5k at 22:18. I got 2nd place for my age group, and was 18th in women over all. My friends called me a beast, and I welcomed it. I drank two Corona Lights with extra lime before 10am to celebrate it.
I was riding pretty high after my PR-breaking day, and nothing but my legs knew it better the next day, Sunday, aka Long Run Day. Hal Higdon said I should have ran 13 for marathon training. My legs said, “Shut it, Hal.” And so I took the day off (with minor bike work, a long walk, and stretching at the gym, because I CAN’T NOT BE ACTIVE EVER).
Even though my body told me I was needing rest, my brain wanted to run. I’m pretty good at listening to my body though, and had to tell my brain to think about being Forrest Gump in my head instead and deal with it for at least 24 hours.
When I got up to run this morning to make up for not running Sunday (Mondays are typically ‘no running’ days), I pushed through sore legs to get my butt out the door for at least four. The sun was rising. The humidity hadn’t quite set in for the day. I thought about how fast I ran the other day, and how a day off and four miles would equal success and a brilliant boost in ego. I started off at a normal 8-minute pace…for like, half a block.
After that half block, my legs felt like sacks of flour, and my Garmin was telling me that I was slooooooooow. I didn’t see numbers. I saw SLOW blinking at me instead. I couldn’t believe it! I felt like I was working so hard, and I was running two whole minutes slower than my pace not two days earlier. “WTF. WTF, Monday?! WTF, Garmin?!” I thought.
I got a little pissed at first. But running always helps put things into perspective: Not all days are treated equal. No day is the same when you’re out in the world, making things happen.
Progress happens. Changes take place. Your hair looks different. You smile is a little more awkward than usual. It’s not Saturday morning anymore, it’s Monday, and your soul knows it and it’s spreading rumors to the rest of your body. So your body is not responding, and it’s rendering you slow and feeling weak. You’re not wearing your lucky socks. You’re feeling weak when yesterday, you felt on top of the world.
Like it always does, running helped me look on the bright side. I decided what counted was the fact that I got my butt out of bed and out the door this morning and pushed through, regardless of the disappointing time on my watch. I may not have given myself an ego boost this morning, but I’ll get another chance tomorrow.
In the meantime, I’ll just celebrate fact that I am living a life where no two days are the same. I will keep trying for progress and change, and will have no great expectations because life is different each and every day. And whether I’m a planner or not, that is something I am grateful for.