Running Through Pain

On Sunday evening, as I was typing up my weekly recap post, I was thinking about all the other posts I had planned for the week. I wanted to chat about Western States, I finally got my replacement shoes, there was plenty to talk about.

Late Sunday night, my 15 year old cat got sick, and early Tuesday morning, he died.

I didn’t run Monday, because I hadn’t slept well and because I didn’t want to leave him alone. I’m glad I didn’t, because it turned out I only had hours left with him. Tuesday I was still exhausted, and I was finding everything tiring. My legs at times felt like they wanted to give out on me. I fully realize there are people who find this excessive grieving for an animal, but it’s how I feel.

I went running Wednesday evening, and every part of me felt heavy. I went slow slow slow slow slow, and I had no drive at all to run faster. I hauled my heavy limbs and heavy chest along as I went. It would have been a good time to have brought headphones, in order to take my mind of the last few days, but I focused my thoughts and for the most part kept from getting too emotional. I did half trails and half roads, running down and back up the trails along Chester Creek, then heading back past the little ski hill (noted for future hill running activities once I am done with this training cycle) and ending up on Kenwood. Parts of the Chester Creek trail are closed due to improvements, but most of the trail remains open.

I hope that heaviness is gone tomorrow, or at least starts to dissipate. I didn’t find running very therapeutic; it felt like a chore that had to be done. I didn’t feel a runner’s high or even enjoy the downhill parts of the run. There were run-able parts of the trail that I walked, because I didn’t feel like picking up the pace. Once I get back on a normal sleeping schedule and my appetite returns, I am sure running won’t feel so awful. And I probably would have felt even worse if I hadn’t gone out and run, if I’d had three days in a row with nothing more physical than a stroll around Target on Tuesday evening, so it’s good I got out there.

I need to choose my routes and my workouts wisely for the next few days, choosing trails or paths that have nice scenery and are gentle on my mind and body, and choosing workouts that don’t push too hard. No speedwork until the leaded feeling leaves my chest and limbs. There’s no value in a half-hearted speed workout, and there’s no point in trying to push aside my feelings and run a harder one anyway. I’m not a world-class athlete, I don’t make my living running races. I don’t need to push myself mentally to complete some difficult workout when I’m sad like this. I know I’ll recover mentally by race day, I just need to give myself time. I still have two weeks and a day until my race, and I’m not going to gain much speed, endurance, or strength in those days, no matter what I do, so I’ll just take things as they come, follow my training plan as best as I can, and trust that the work I’ve put in will get me to the finish line intact.

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