“You say you hate running, but you’re out there consistently, day after day.”
“Well, I’m afraid that if I stop, I’ll never do it again.”
I was excited for 2020. A new year, a new decade– I could put the 2010s behind me and start afresh. I was emboldened by my progress with the 10K and decided that this year, I would tackle 10 miles. I signed up for two race lotteries, and somehow had gotten into both of them. I started training in January and felt confident and strong.
Then in February, a death in the family and an acute illness set me back a few weeks. By the time I got my feet back under me again in March, the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into chaos, and I watched as every event on my calendar got canceled or postponed. I was told I had to work from home from now on, and we had to limit going outside for only the essential things. Exercise counted as one of those “essential things,” thankfully.
It’s true– I hate running. I get headaches while I run and I often have to close my eyes because of the pain. I am often grimacing while I run, which makes for some hilariously awful race photos that I never buy. Although (before the pandemic) my friends would ask if I’d like to go on a group run, I would decline because I’m so much slower than they are, and I’m in so much physical distress that the last thing I want to do is talk while running.
And yet, I keep running, mostly because it’s good for me, mentally and physically. And I can’t seem to stop.
Going out running was a good antidote to being cooped up in the house for hours on end, and since I was already halfway through my training schedule when the lockdown happened, I figured I should just keep running until I hit 10 miles.
Learning to run for longer distances is a lot of trial and error. How to pace myself. How to fuel while running without feeling sick. What gear to use to carry stuff. What to eat before and after running. I’m still trying to figure it all out. But it’s largely been a mental game, willing myself to keep going and push farther than I had the day before.
This year so far has thrown me for a loop. But I ran 10 miles for the first time today. So, if nothing else, I know I can do it. And hopefully if the race is held in the fall, I’ll be able to run 10 miles again.