I hate running.
I know that many of you don’t believe me. You know that I go on all these “long runs” and that I have “running shoes” and “running clothes” and that I even own a special “running watch” (Garmin), so you think I have to love running.
I don’t. Seriously.
I like jogging. I like slogging (slow jogging). I like jogging with walk breaks up the hills. But running? Like, going fast? Nope. Hate it. Loathe it. Abhor it, even. Sprinting is just not in my wheelhouse.
For some reason, though, I decided to finally try my legs at the Miller’s Mutual Harrisburg Mile tonight. I’d always maintained that I had no desire to do it since I don’t run fast. Even when we signed up 90 minutes before the event, I had no desire to do it. But I felt like I had to do it, since it’s a big deal in our area, and the mile was the only distance I hadn’t yet raced.
I toed the starting line with my friends Megan (super-fast) and Carolyn (slightly super-faster) and then thought I should just hit the sidewalk and join Melba at the beer garden. It sounded like a much better idea than running the stupid race. But all of a sudden the time keeper told us we had 15 seconds until we started, and I realized I kinda had to do it.
It sucked. I hated every blessed second of the race. I had no idea how to start, and screwed that up. I couldn’t find a rhythm. I had two guys behind me who were grunting and groaning the whole time. I had no idea how hard to push, and was just giving it what I thought I had in the tank. I was cursing the 66 burpees I did yesterday, and was thankful that my workout was cut short before I could do the other 66 of them. I was fading fast.
One of the two men who were tailing me was my husband. He held that position for just about the entire race. Let me tell you something: my husband doesn’t train. He just shows up to races and runs. Sometimes that ends poorly, but most of the times he pulls decent races out of his you-know-where, and it really irritates the heck out of me. I always beat him, though, and it’s usually by a significant amount of time. Tonight . . . tonight was another story.
S tailed me until the last few yards. He shouted, “You can do it, honey!” To which I replied, “I don’t know if I can.” (By that, I mean that I wasn’t sure I could keep up the pace, not that I thought I wouldn’t finish.) He then proceeded to PASS ME. Yep – he passed me with mere yards to go after tailing me for the majority of the mile.
I was pissed. My only goals were to PR and to beat him. I PR’d by about 25 seconds or so, but I lost to my husband. I was so pissed about the latter that it took me almost an hour to realize the former. It took me so long to realize it, really, because I felt like absolute crap. My lungs were toast. My legs weren’t happy. And my lungs were toast. Did I already say that? I had been dealing with some stomach problems for the past few days, so that didn’t make things any better. I was happy to be done, and loudly proclaimed that “I will never do this race again!” I made such a proclamation after my 100-miler last fall, but this time I actually mean it.
I felt worse at the half mile marker today than I did after 62 miles in that 100. The two races are completely different. I knew that, but I really understand it now. I know that I am a distance person, not a sprinter. I’ve known that as long as I’ve been running, and this just confirms it. It’s true that I am faster now than I’ve been. It’s also true that with some speed work I could get faster. And the fact that it was 96 degrees and humid didn’t help things at all either. I’ll take my seven-oh-something minute mile and hang up my speedy shoes. Give me slow, plodding miles on the trails any day. Slow and steady – that’s me.