I found myself having a Lindsay Bluth Funke moment a few days ago, during a run.
"Have I lost it?" I asked myself during the first of five miserable intervals.
"Did I ever even have it?" I thought as nausea rose after the third.
I'll still agree with the thought that the only run you regret is the one you don't go on, but man, I did not award myself any gold stars after that particular effort.
Well, OK, despite how certain friends feel about participation trophies, I did pat myself — gently — on the back for realizing it wasn't my day and adapting my effort/expectations to conditions. (Hot and humid.)
Some of this floated around my head as I prepared for and embarked on my first long run of training — five miles, the longest I've run since April 28's half marathon.
But as it turns out, all of this RAGBRAI preparation had erased my memories of the emotional cycle most of my runs follow.
Today, the first few steps felt awesome. I loved running. I was thrilled to be running. Did I have to stop at five miles?
After the first mile, the sweat and fatigue began to build up. Running was kind of tough, but why? I'd had a good night's sleep, proper nutrition and none of the trigger foods/drinks.
Midway through, I found my rhythm. Running was awesome again. I passed a few groups of social runners. Thanks for the brief snippet of "Runaround" from your iPod, ladies, but some of us are flying at the target 9:30 pace.
And then came the hills, sometimes metaphorical, other times (like today) literal. Negotiations about when to walk ensued. The mind won today; next time, the body likely will. Hopefully the mind wins more often.
Finally, during the last half mile, the hundredths of a mile took their sweet time registering, but I knew they'd tick up even more slowly if I slowed down. Plus, that average pace — which had bloated to 9:44 in the previous stage — was shrinking.
Biking (well, in flat Des Moines at least) didn't feature so many mood swings. All of that happiness and gourmand behavior must've softened me up. Hence the day of doubt.
But hey, the deeper the slide, the higher the rise, and I haven't found much in athletics yet that can beat the runner's high.