A really bad run

This was a difficult summer for my running.  In theory, I expect good days and bad days in everything, but somehow my running life has been exempt from the reasonableness of my expectations.
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This was a trail run I did in Vail this summer… my best run in a long time (and since).

For example, take the BolderBoulder.  I knew I had run 7 miles at a 10:40 pace.  So I expected to run my 10K im 1:06.  When I had to take nearly 2 weeks off before the race because of an ankle sprain and an episode of back pain, and then took a way-too-long bathroom break and a didn’t run at my personal best, I was disappointed with my time.  Rather than thinking, “Wow– a year and a half ago I couldn’t even walk a mile without wondering if my knee would give out and NOW!  Hooray!”, I beat myself up, thinking those extra 5 minutes were a sign of my weakness.  Lameness.  Lack of effort.  (I could go on, but, well… I won’t.)

I just had a personal best in a 5K a month ago (running 10:35 minute miles) and then crashed (figuratively), before my Thailad trip with another week of back pain and no exercise.  My first morning back trying to run, I realized that I torqued my ankle again and couldn’t even bear the pain to run.  (I guess the back pain was so bad I didn’t notice that I sprained my ankle when I fell?)  And I spent the first 10 minutes of my run walk berating myself…

Until I stopped.   I hauled my thoughts back to sanity and came to this conclusion:

Not every run is going to be a personal best.

Not every day at work– or in our home school– is going to be one I want to repeat.

I cannot spend my life functioning at my personal best– or expecting myself to do so.

Rather than turning a really good day (or good run) into the new norm, I need to recognize it for what it is: a giftNot a new standard.  Then maybe I can have a little more grace with myself and all that life throws at me.

Have you had a bad run recently that sent you into a mental tailspin?  Or a good day that made the you resent what a normal day looks like?  Please share.

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4 thoughts on “A really bad run

  1. Thanks for this! Afterall, a personal best means nothing if it happens every day. I’ve been struggling with ankle, heel, back pain myself.

  2. Mmm, I’m more curious to see what your readers have to say than able to write anything profound. Contentment can be elusive, comparisons are…what? Dangerous, odious?

    We have had sick everybody lately and I haven’t been swimming.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing, Annie. I can say after many years of running that what you experience is right on. I have found my limitations in running. I feel like here in the Philippines, its almost a constant battle of can I get out the door, and then even when I am out the door, do I have the energy to run. If I am too emotionally burdened or stressed or tired, I just can’t do it. So I go out and walk or do some yoga video. And when the beating myself up talk starts, I change it to, I am so grateful that I got out of the house today. I am so grateful to just be moving my body today. I went through the personal best stuff for a while, but have come to the fact that these days with 3 kids to take care of, living in a hot and often stressful environment, an ever changing schedule, whatever I can do is good, great, wonderful! And the running will come back. And when it does, I’m grateful.

  4. You are sooo my PRP! Before my first half, my only goal was a time goal of 2:15. A week before the race I read an article about having several goals for each race. I’m sure I’ve told you this before. Anyway, so I added several goals before the race (finish the race, enjoy the race, walk only after each full mile, etc). I finished the race in 2:18 and was elated. Imagine if I had only focused on time. I would have missed all of the great things that the half offered. P.s. our paces are the exact same! Too weird. PRPs for life!

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