Moe, for better or worse

This blog used to be called "one year in the life of a short fat runner"; then it was called "Am I a runner? you decide." I've decided running isn't the thing I need to talk about'll come up for sure, but it's just one part of me, so I think I'll just call this blog: Moe, for better or worse.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Good and bad

One thing I don't generally get from running is relief from stress. I know many people go out to run to let go of tension and anxiety and come back feeling better. I know my better health and exercise in general help me, but the act of running does not. I suppose it's just too hard and I have to think about it too much. (Swimming, on the other hand, is completely cathartic. It's rhythmic and soothing and's like meditating in water...I'm sure many of my friends who argue that point, however.)

I had lots of miles on my schedule this weekend. I switched my Thursay run to Friday, so I ended up running 4 days in a row, 16 miles total, including my long run of 7 (2/7/4/3). This was a lot of miles for me. I almost never run more than 2 in a row, either, so that was a challenge as well.

My long runs haven't been great, but I'm getting through them. It's all I can say about them really. Well, no, each week, the long run is getting better at least, that's something positive. I had to run 4 on Sunday, after my LR of 7 on Saturday. Rob was away for the weekend and while I should have gone earlier just because I went when I finally felt like going, around 11:15 in the morning. While not the most ideal time to run, it is a time I like to run, so all the better. (Plus it is approximately the time I will be running my first leg at RTB.) I started out and ran the first mile or so. I stopped to stretch...and ran another mile and a half.

And then stopped.


I just couldn't do it. I was lightheaded and exhausted and just plain done.

I was a half mile from running a 20 mile week (my first ever) and only a mile and a half from completing my week's scheduled miles.

But I just couldn't do it. I couldn't. My feet wouldn't move another step. I was a broken spirit.

I sat down on the edge of a monument, in the shade and cried. No one notices you when you cry in a cemetery. A car passed me slowly but didn't stop...I assume they assumed I was mourning. I was, in a way, I guess. Mourning, or at least anticipating the loss of my mother, mourning my own lost youth, mourning for friends and loved ones I've lost, whether to death, or just circumstance.

But I was also pissed off. I wasn't going to make this goal...this really BIG goal because I couldn't run another half mile? Was I really so weak?

I stopped crying. I got up. I walked a little, up a hill, so when I started running again, I'd at least have gravity at my side. I ran that stupid half mile, and it felt I ran some more. I ran another half mile, and it felt ok, so I ran the last half mile, in the cemetery. I felt better knowing I'd done it.

Yesterday, I had to run 3. I was tired. I didn't run in the morning when it was cooler and kept putting off going. I didn't expect much from this run, since I was so worn out emotionally as well as physically. I didn't care if I walked but I wanted to get through the distance running most of it.

I ran the first two with only a break to stretch. My calves were incredibly tight. Sometimes stretching helps, although not always or even usually...but I didn't think I could run anymore with how they felt, so I tried. At 2 miles, I stopped to walk, for a long time, like 5 mins, because my calves were still as tight as guitar strings. The walk helped. I ran the last mile straight through.

I really thought this run was going to be awful. I didn't think I'd ever get through it when I headed out. I really thought I'd end up walking most of it, merely because I was so tired. And was a nice run. So, my calves hurt. So, I was tired, and it was hotter than I'd have liked. It didn't seem to matter. I ran fast in parts...even on uphills. I felt like I ran well, too and kept going after I told myself it was ok to stop.

I did have a moment though...and maybe this is what did it.

In the cemetery, there are comtemporary sculptures, part of the Scuplture Walk. One is called The Sentinel. I run by her most days, and I've always liked her. I even went to the unveiling of the bronze cast the artist, Fern Cunningham, did when it became a permanent piece at the cemetery. I talked to the artist's father then and was pleased I could tell him how much I loved it.

At any rate, I ran by her yesterday, coming from the opposite direction than I usually do. And for some reason...I stopped in my tracks. I had to touch her. I wanted to hold onto her, but instead, laid my hand on her knee and cried for a moment.

In the artist's statement, she says: "Her mission is to observe all the transpires. She is the wise old woman of Africa, the Sentinel."

I guess the wise old woman was a comfort to me yesterday and provided me some strength. I will go to her again when I need it.


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