Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why Do I Put Myself Through All Of This?

  Yesterday was a no good, terrible run day. Mark and I were headed into yesterday hoping to maybe get in 12-13 miles. The Salt Lake City Marathon is 13 days away and I was trying to add more confidence to my running tank before doing the half. Last week's 12 mile canyon run went AMAZING and I was feeling really great my next race. The recovery wasn't good, turns out I need to do a lot more core and glute strengthening in order to really plow through a downhill run, but I was extremely happy with how great my time was on the run. I needed another great run this weekend to really top off my training for the Salt Lake half.
   But that isn't what happened. We had to cancel our plans to run with our Facebook running group because we didn't want to have to get up before 5 am to run with them. Too hard with a 3-year-old. Then we had a weather problem looming, meaning it is spring time in Utah and that means if there is any chance of rain, it could either be sunny all day, or torrential downpour and freezing cold. The Weather Channel promised 
it wouldn't rain, if it was going to actually rain, until the afternoon. So, despite wanting to run 12 miles, we thought that starting at 8 would work. Oh, and my back was hurting, so there was a chance we wouldn't even make it past a mile or two. It wasn't looking great.
   However, despite all the problems, the first half of the run went really well. The weather was the perfect amount of sun and clouds to make it the perfect running temperature. My back loosened up by the first mile. And despite not having a friend to run with, I was having a good time. We did an out and back run, meaning at 6 miles, we turned to head back (which means we were 2 cities away from our car by this point). And that is when all hell broke loose. The first couple of miles after we turned around were running up an slight incline. Normally it would just be tiring, but then the headwind started blowing. It was blowing so hard at times that I HAD to walk because it was too frustrating running against. Then the wind turned very cold. And with that came sprinkling rain. I was still 4 miles out and knew that I would need to just start running and not quitting no matter what before the heavy rain came. 
   I was way too late. Less than a half a mile later, the rain came POURING down. I was soaked within minutes. My body started shutting down. My foot started cramping badly. Then my hamstring in the other leg joined in. Then my back started hurting. I had to keep running. I was still just over 3 miles out. I started praying that Mark would just come pick me up. A mile passed and I was limping along. I started thinking "WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?" I hate running. This is terrible. Another half mile passed. I started daydreaming about hot baths and burning my running gear. I passed under and overpass and turned to look to see if Mark was up at the top with the car. He wasn't. I continued. Praying and cussing at the same time, dripping from the crazy rain. I came around a corner where I could see the road ahead. That road meant 1 mile left. I was hurting, wet, tired, hungry, and cold. 
   Then I saw it. Our red car driving slowly passed. I started sprinting and waving my arms. HE HAD CAME! I prayed harder than I have in a long time thanking God. Then it happened, a duck family walked out in the trail right by me. Isabel was there too! It was a good end to the worst run of 2014.
   I questioned why we run the whole day yesterday. A bad run can do that to a runner. The truth is, I don't have a single reason for why I run. It changes over time. Yes, I run for Isabel, but why? Sometimes I run off the anger she died. Sometimes I run so I can talk to her while I am at my most vulnerable. Sometimes I run because I am trying to prove to myself that my body is amazing, despite making Isabel sick. But the reality is, I run so I can race. Racing is an amazing spiritual experience for me and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Even after a bad run. Whenever I think about quitting, I just have to look back at these experiences to remind myself how much I really love running.

My first 5k. My goal was to run the entire time. I did and became addicted to racing.
The Salt Lake City Marathon 5k. Our first big race and the first race after the Boston Marathon bombings. Despite the cold and the rain, we had an amazing race.
The Famous Potato Half Marathon. My first half and maybe my favorite and most profound running experience I have ever had. 
The Legacy Midnight Race. A very disappointing race, but probably the most educational race too.
Addison's first 5k and the first race of 2014. 

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