Friday, March 1, 2013

I had a not-so-great run, and that's great!

The past two weeks, the running gods have been overwhelmingly good to me.

They've given me two 40-degree days, they've given me very few bitterly cold ones, they've given me back-to-back strong long runs ... and they've given me one clunker.

Yes, you read that right, and I wrote it right. With the clarity of hindsight, I'm glad that Saturday's tempo run kind of stunk.

At the time, I had many reasons to be annoyed. The numbers looked OK when I was done, but I didn't make it easy on myself — I didn't layer properly, I had two timing snafus and I started the fast portion too fast on a cold day. To add insult to injury, partway up the horrible 60th Street hill, the sidewalk suddenly stopped being plowed.

I briefly, crazily, thought I could trudge through it; realized that was idiotic and clomped right over to the curb (we're still ankle-deep in snow, here) to try to cross four lanes of Saturday traffic; and eventually had the presence of mind to give up ... but backtracked through that same ankle-deep snow to cross at an actual intersection.

Fortunately, it doesn't take a good run — just a run — to bring me my runner's high. Once it was done, I shrugged it off and wished myself better luck next time.

Listening to WGN Sports Night on Wednesday brought me all the way around from "que sera, sera" to gratitude: Brian Noonan (or possibly David Kaplan) said that as awesome as the Blackhawks' no-regulation-loss streak was, he was almost looking forward to it being over.

Noonan had a legitimate point: that he'd rather not have a tangential streak distract players from the real prize. I, however, have a borderline stupid point.

The superstitious part of me fears that if I don't have a few bad runs early in the training cycle, that I'll have huge blowups and meltdowns later in the cycle — early on during a 10-mile practice run, for instance, or even on race day itself.

The slightly more rational side of me knows that I need to practice suffering through a run, so I'm not floored by how demanding the half marathon will eventually become (hopefully not until my mileage reaches double-digits, but it's happened sooner) and so I know I'll survive that misery.

And the most logical part of me is glad that I had the opportunity to bounce back mentally and to appreciate the good runs even more.

That Saturday tempo run was like ripping off a Band-Aid. No more — OK, less — living in fear.

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