Thursday, March 27, 2014

How A Run Can Suck But Still Be Amazing.

Sometimes a run can be awful and great at the same time.

Yesterday's run was.

I'd missed Wednesday's run because the weather was so awful. We've had some pretty heavy rain in the last few days. My throat's been sore and I've been putting in long hours of work - it just seemed like the sensible thing to stay in bed, get a bit more sleep and stay dry. I went through the usual internal argument at 4:15am and debated the pros and the cons. And I must have drifted back off to sleep mid-argument (proving my point that debates are boring) still holding my alarm clock because the next thing I knew the clock had crashed to the floor and it wasn't working. The Gods had spoken - no alarm means that I'm not supposed to run and who am I to defy the Gods?

Thursday is Hills day and there was a very strong chance that the trails would be in bad shape after all the rain. We were warned that the session might be cancelled but thinking isn't my strong point at 4:45am so I got up like I usually would, made the bed, had my banana and got dressed all before I checked on my phone. Yes, the trails were bad and the session was cancelled and our instructions from Coach Chris were to go back to bed. Of course it was too late for that. I was dressed for a run so I was going to have a run. What a defiant little runner I am.

Right from the start it felt hard. My legs were heavy and didn't want to move. I told myself it was going to just be an easy run and I could cut it short if I didn't start to feel better. And then I went through all the reasons that it was feeling so hard just to reassure myself that this wasn't the start of a trend. My throat was sore. I'd done leg work the day before. I've been working lots of hours and haven't had a full day off in 3 weeks. I'd had a very disturbed night's sleep the night before. No wonder I wasn't feeling it.

A couple of kilometres in, my MP3 ran out of battery. It was around that point that I remembered that I'd meant to charge it a week ago. Oops. And it was at the first water stop that I realised that I hadn't worn my spibelt so I had no fuel. That wouldn't matter if my run was short but this one was supposed to be 16k and I'll generally have a honey or two when I run that far. I was really starting to wish that I'd been a good GaleForcer and done what the coach had said. It wouldn't kill me to make the bed twice in one day but running 16k might.

But then a little miracle happened. The skies started to lighten. First there were pink streaks in the clouds. Then the pink turned to orange and yellow and the whole sky exploded with colour. Of course I didn't have my phone with me to take a photo. So I captured them in my head - the city as a silhouette with an amazing technicolour backdrop, colours reflected in plate glass windows, silhouetted runners in single file across the bridge. It didn't matter that my legs were heavy any more. My spirit was soaring.
Luckily some of my squad mates remembered their phones so I could share just how beautiful it was. Thanks Jess!!

Of course I didn't cut the run short. I couldn't bear to miss out on the magnificent light show. I kept on till I got to the Botanical Gardens then ran around the ponds (another of my favourite places) and got to see the water lilies in full bloom. And then I was on my way back home and the run had two last gifts to give to me - the cormorant sitting on the log in the river trying to sun himself. 

And the smiling runner whose face spelled out just how much he was enjoying his run. I figure he'd just started to be that happy.

Honestly yesterday's running sucked but the run was amazing. 


  1. That's an amazing sunrise! I'm never out that early to see them! When I'm having a tough run I try to switch focus, and there is usually some beauty to be found to take my mind off things!

  2. I've had a few days like - you feel so rewarded after you're finished even though from the outset it seemed bleak. Beautiful morning sky. How often does your team do hill training - you write about it often - is it weekly. I should do more, but it's hard so I don't.

    1. We run up hills. It can be on trails or on the road. Chris finds us the most awful steep trails in the city and takes a lot of delight in torturing us on them. They might be a shorter hill multiple times or a hilly circuit or a long hill. It changes from week to week.

  3. Glad it was the ending that was magnificent and not the other way around!


    That is all.

    Sunrise is the reward for getting up early to run. I mean, I know it's going to happen anyway, I just feel like I appreciate it more when I've hauled myself out of bed and suffered through a few k's.

  5. The hardest part of any jouney is the first step.... so on those days when you feel like staying in bed, just fight it, a bad run is always better than no run!

  6. Those beautiful sunrises are the bonus of our runs in the morning. Sometimes it's so beautiful I almost forget to put one foot in front of the other. I love nature and appreciate it more and more now that I'm older.

  7. And that's what keeps us coming back!

  8. Funny how both things can happen on the same run.

  9. I was going to say pretty much what miss zippy said - that is why we keep doing this day after day!! Gorgeous sunrise!!!

  10. Nice turn around! I often feel once I start feeling sucky it continues. I need to get your attitude.

  11. Mother nature saves the day eh?

    I've had long runs where I've got out in rain and felt exhausted but ended up happy in sunshine. Also, many runs the other way round - British weather is lke that. :)

  12. Fortunately, your session was cancelled because the trails were bad. I would hate putting my running shoes into the mud.
    Your run gave you the opportunity to see that colours explosion in the sky. Thanks for sharing!
    Nice picture of the cormorant ... I have never thought the relationship between running and bird-watching :)
    Have a nice week!

  13. How lovely that you can see the run as being both!


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