This is a frustrating time of year for me. The weather is up and down, and while the rest of the country is enjoying spring (or even sweltering in Boston on Monday), we’re still getting snow in the forecast. This past weekend was really nice, and even though it was much cooler on Monday, it was still sunny and didn’t feel chilly. Then Tuesday it was in the high 30s F and poured most of the day. Yesterday it barely made it over 40 F, and by the time I was getting up to get my running gear, the wind had kicked up.
I was already in a sort of melancholy mood, to the point where I almost sat in my car and finished listening to Eddie Vedder’s cover of “Comfortably Numb,” even though it only started about 30 seconds before I pulled into the driveway. I didn’t, but it was tempting. I updated my Facebook profile photo to Homer Simpson complaining about the lousy Smarch weather. I didn’t even have to upload a photo, because I have used it so many times before! It’s more like Smapril now, but it’s never clear where Smarch fell on the calendar.
After that I stupidly looked through older photos when I was more overweight. There’s more of a contrast between now and then than I thought, which I can look at as good, look how far I’ve come! or as bad, it got worse than I thought. Of course I was in the mood to choose the latter.
Then there was a huge gust of wind outside my window, and I decided not to run. Five minutes later, I said out loud, to no one but the cats, “NOPE.” I stood up, put on my gear, and managed to get outside.
I expected the run would make me feel better, and it didn’t. The first mile really sucked, it was into the wind, and had some annoying uphills (when leaving from my house, it’s basically impossible to avoid an uphill in the first mile), but I figured it would get better. Then I realized I was bleeding. A raw spot under my nose had split open (again). I had five more miles to go, so I got blood all over my lovely mint green jacket trying to stop the bleeding or at least avoid getting blood all over my face. It’s gross, but whatever.
It never got better. I somehow had to run into the wind no matter what direction I was heading. I kept burping the chicken curry Chinese takeout I had for lunch. My feet were landing hard on the ground, practically stomp-running, and I couldn’t fix it. I ran by a long-dead squirrel in someone’s yard. Dirt blew in my face. Not even the view of the lake along Skyline Drive near the copper top church cheered me up.
And my watch malfunctioned. It beeps when I’ve hit a mile, and occasionally I hear a phantom beep, which was what I thought I heard, until I looked down and saw that it was showing 6.2 miles when I was barely over 3 miles into the route. But a 7:17 average pace, congratulations to me!
I didn’t have the energy for any of the downhills I’d earned the hard way, through the big climb on Arrowhead Drive. Even as I turned down the final hill and was less than half a mile from home, I didn’t feel relieved. It felt like it would never be over.
I got home and had to do a load of laundry (to clean my coat), marinate pork chops (I really didn’t want to eat pork chops, but that’s what was thawed), and do some strength exercises (I did!), so even the end of the run didn’t bring me to a better mental state.
The point of this stream-of-consciousness post is merely to say: sometimes running sucks. The whole time, not just the first 2 miles. Sometimes running isn’t the answer to a bad mood, or a way to clear my head, or a way to feel like I’ve accomplished something on a day I’ve felt like I don’t have the energy to do anything. Running doesn’t solve every problem, and that’s okay. It’s not supposed to, and if I expect it to, it’s only going to make things worse. Tough days happen, and every single time I get out there and run on a tough day, mentally, physically, or emotionally, I’m figuring out new ways to cope. I can’t imagine when that will come in handy — maybe at mile 18 of Chippewa Moraine, or hour 18 of FANS?