Sometimes running can be absolutely magical. The planets align, you get your stride, you experience an almost out of body experience, gliding kilometers upon kilometers, your breath keeping cadence with your heart. And then there was today…
To say that I had a bad run would be an understatement as I am sitting at the computer with three heating pads and one ice pack plastered strategically on various parts of my legs and buttock. I am so fortunate to live in Canada, a country strong and free. However, it is also the True North. And, today, it delivered splendidly. We have actual temperatures but we go one step farther. We have ‘feels like’ temperatures. And, today, according to the radio it felt like -24.
This alone will not prevent a run for any self-respecting enthusiast so Karen, Lyndsay and I went despite the cold. Everything started out fine, however, ticking off each kilometer brought something new to tick me off.
At about kilometer 9 we turned into a dreadful breeze, probably like an Abu Dhabi wind storm…minus the heat of course. My contact lenses felt like they froze to my eyeballs, like a couple of metal spoons were sitting on my cornea. Blink, Heather, just keep blinking. I read somewhere that eyes don’t freeze so I should be fine.
Challenge number two was the slushy snow. You have to change your stride and by kilometer 14 or so my entire right leg decided, starting with my butt, shooting through my calf and ending at my ankle to tighten up with the grip of a vice. I needed the jaws of life to release the tension. No worries, Karen was patient enough to let me stretch.
Things improved until Kilometer 18 rolled around with a new challenge. The water was frozen. You would need an auger and a fishing hut to cut through my water bottle. I tried to unscrew the top of the bottle, only to have some of the water spill on my hand. I took some gulps of the ice-infested waters experiencing a whole new level of brain freeze I didn’t know existed. I tried, unsuccessfully I might add, to get the top back on the bottle. It didn’t work so I ditched the rest of the water. I couldn’t unzip my pocket to get put the bottle top away and Karen rescued me by putting it in her pocket.
“I need to get my mitt on now,” I suddenly said. The water that spilled on my hand had frozen and I felt like I may be in danger of frost bite. Probably not, but that’s how I felt. I managed to ungracefully plunge my hand into my mitt and pull it up with my teeth.
I became painfully aware that I can’t hear my music. I ran for another kilometer then decided to press ‘play’ again on my ipod. Nothing. Battery must be gone. I was not a happy bunny.
In 6 kilometers we approached the Running Room. I bailed. I started to walk, (well limp, really, thinking of appropriate expletives with each and every hobble) towards the heat and comfort of the store. I wanted water and I was tight and sore. It’s never a question of can you, but will you. And today I decided that I wouldn’t. Karen continued on and completed her 28 kilometer. Kudos to her for her tenacity and strength.
Every once in a while you just have a bad run. The great thing about bad runs is that it makes you really appreciate and savour the good ones. And, every time you have a bad run, you know you are that much closer to having a great one.
I could be upset with myself. There are truly no excuses. But, I chose not to be because I know as long as I am blessed with life and health there will be more opportunities to do better. Today was just one day, a necessary speck in an incredible and detailed ongoing journey. There is no finish line.
There are races, markers and mile stones but there is no end; at least not until I decide so. This is something I need to remind myself of often.
Blessings. Even the bad. They are all blessings.