Please don’t read the title of this blog post and worry that my love of running has left me. It has not. I had a wonderful run today along the Surf Coast trail, enjoying the perfect running weather and soaking in the incredible scenery.
However this wouldn’t be an accurate record of my running life if I didn’t acknowledge that running is not always delightful. Let me count the ways:
- There are days when getting out of the door is almost impossible. Knowing how good I’ll feel about the world at the end of a run doesn’t make it any easier to get out of the door when I’m tired, grumpy or just lazy. Because I know that, in between me and those endorphins, there’s some hard work and I just can’t be bothered. It takes a massive mental kick up the butt to get me into my running gear and out the door some days, as my ever patient husband will attest to.
- Chafing hurts. You would think, having been running for a while, I’d have figured out how to stop it happening but no. I managed some pretty spectacular chafing on today’s run in fact, despite wearing gear I have worn multiple times before and a generous amount of Body Glide.
- Running is hard. Some days it feels like the trail is perpetually downhill and you’re flying. Other days, it’s up hill all the way. The first couple of kilometres of pretty much every run I do suck. I forget how to breathe or move my arms. I forget how I like my feet to land. And I feel generally slow and slothful. Thankfully, that feeling doesn’t last and is probably why I prefer longer distances – I’m warmed up after about 7km 🙂
- The weather gods don’t take requests. I’m not a particularly fussy runner when it comes to weather. I’ll run in the rain and the cold. I’m not picky about running in the dark (any more). But I don’t really like running in the wind. And my absolute enemy is heat – I’d prefer to be up at the crack of dawn in Summer than swelter through anything over 20 degrees (which might not feel hot when you’re walking but it’s a different matter when you’re running). Regardless of what I prefer, my training plan says I have to run anyway.
- However hard my body is working, my brain is working harder……and not in a good way. While the first couple of kilometres of a run are hard on my body, they’re probably harder on my mind. “I’m no good at this. I should just give up” says my not very helpful brain. “Everyone is watching me and they think I’m too fat/slow/unfit/stupid.” I have lots of mantras needed to chase away those thoughts but I’m always surprised how quickly they pop into my head nearly every time I run.
- Being overtaken hurts. Being overtaken constantly hurts constantly. One of my frequent comments is that it’s taken me 3 years to run this slow. I think it’s more that it’s taken me 3 years to be ok with my pace. I run the speed I run, and that’s ok. Like everyone else though, I love getting PBs and seeing myself get faster. And, while I’m always happy for my friends, running buddies and complete strangers to get PBs and get stronger and faster, being a constant ‘back of the pack’ runner does sting. Not as much as it used to it, but still enough.
I’m sure there are more ways but I think you get the point – it isn’t all sunshine and endorphins. I’m pleased to say that the good heavily outweighs the challenges, otherwise I wouldn’t keep doing this. Eventually the endorphins do kick in, my positive thoughts return and I feel strong and happy. By the time I’d finished my 10.5km training run today, I felt like I could take on the world. Or at least tackle some serious holiday homework I’ve been putting off. Just had to get home and deal with that chafing first…