Last week I ran 100.4km.
Over a hundred kilometres. Over 62 miles. Total running time was 8h 56mins and 31 seconds – longer than most people’s working day. Definitely longer than mine.
Three of those runs were in London (two on consecutive days) and one in Marlow where the route was very, very (veryveryveryveryvery) hilly.
I should have been elated after that last run; I had just done something that ought to have given me a boost or at least a fleeting sense of accomplishment. But no – all I could feel was like an utter failure because the run had felt so hard. Part of it was probably the accumulation of stress put on the body over the week while a big part of the pain and misery was due to those infernal hills. But that was (is) neither here nor there – all that mattered was that I felt I had put in a weak performance. And feeling “meh” after a run is not a new thing; no matter what I do I always feel like I should have done MORE.
Today (Tuesday after the hilly run on Sunday) I did an early 4am run (to get it in before work) and pretty early on decided that I was going to treat it as a recovery run of some sort (never do those!). On a sensible level I do realise that just because my brain resets the running week on a Monday, the body doesn’t follow suit. All my body knows, is that I was out running – again- and it wasn’t enjoying it! So the plan was to do an easy 10km, which then got pushed to 12km. As I was on the final kilometre though my legs just took a turn towards Regents Park. All on their own I might add; my brain could just sit there like a jockey on an out of control horse (a slow one that should have been sent to the glue factory ages ago) and desperately try and pull on the reigns to turn back towards home. Legs one but all the way around the park the brain jockey was complaining about it. It was a beautiful morning – half an hour before sunrise there was a beautifully faint, pink light being cast on London. I knew the park would be beautiful and that it was; covered in wafting mist with the honks of the Canadian geese echoing. So it was worth it and my distance got pushed up to 18km.
Any normal person would have been happy with that run – I managed to get (what most people consider to be) a decent distance done on a body that felt like a cesspool of lactic acid. But was I? Was I heck! The distance was close enough to my 25km that I could have (should have) done it. Or at least crept up to the 20s. And I really could have done it for sure, that’s how it works – you push past the pain, but I would have hated every miserable step.
I feel like it’s time to bring back the joy into my running. I am stuck in this loop of expecting a long run every time I hop into my Nikes which means I often dread the runs. I have exhausted most sensible routing options in my part of London in order to get 25km done and there are now roads that I avoid because I am so bored of running on them that they make me sick. Literally sick. It has been a long while since I have had that elated sense of flying as I was running. And don’t get me wrong; there have been some good runs but that runners high has been elusive. I have no idea how to dial back the distance and be ok with it but something needs to change. I want to fall in love with running again before I’ll want to divorce that too…