I workout. Always have.
I’m no Jillian Michaels, but I’m in decent shape.
This is precisely why running pisses me off.
No matter how fit I feel, I am not good at it. When I try really hard, I still run a 10-minute mile.
Some people walk a mile in 10 minutes.
Not only am I slow, but I also don’t really enjoy running. That whole runner’s high thing? Never felt it. People who clear their mind on a run? Not I.
Me + running? We just never clicked.
Despite that, I decided to sign up for a 10k trail run. I’d never run in anything over a 5k race. And trail run? Psssht, nope. Great Hey Eleanor challenge, right?
I trained with the husband. For two months, we did at least one distance run a week (anywhere from four to seven miles), plus a few weekly Crossfit sessions.
When race day arrived, I felt decently prepared.
It was a cool day, overcast with a light drizzle. Perfect running weather for the City of Trails Trail Run (why hello, redundant name)!
What’s more: only 50-some people had signed up. So relaxed and low-pressure! I stretched out a bit and found a great 90s hip hop Pandora station to carry me through.
Naughty By Nature! TLC! Kris Kross!
A gun shot rang out (actually, I think a DJ yelled ready-set-go! over a crappy sound system) and we were off.
First of all, trail runs beat road runs, no contest. You’re too busy watching every step to realize how miserable your body feels! We spent 80 percent of the race navigating wooded trails, dodging trees, rocks and roots. The time flew. With “Return of the Mack” blasting in my ears, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. This was fun!
An hour in, the trail stopped.
The route’s arrows pointed toward a long, straight road stretching through a neighborhood.
As I ran down the never-ending street, without another runner in sight, the smile faded from my face. It seemed like the road stretched on forever.
Running wasn’t fun anymore.
I’d run for 30 seconds, then walk for 20. I swear It took me a half an hour until I finally saw the end.
I finished in 1:14. But more importantly, I finished.
Unfortunately, the story does not end here.
For the four or five days after training runs, my ankle would absolutely kill. It would eventually go away. I tried switching shoes, I iced and took Advil and event went to a chiropractor. These things lessened the symptoms, but the next time I hit the pavement, I had the same issue.
I rode it out because I wanted to do this 10k.
I needed to prove to myself that I had mental toughness.
Yes, I finished the race. But since completing the 10k, I’ve only run once. It was about a mile-and-a-half, purposely short so I could test my ankle. It hurt for the entire week after. So I made a decision.
I’m hanging up my running shoes.
Initially, I felt sad. I’m not one to throw in the towel.
But then I really thought about it.
I always felt like a failure at life because I’m such a slow, crabby runner. But I love walking, biking, rollerblading, skiing, skating, yoga, spinning, Pilates, lifting weights…. and it occurred to me that maybe I should pour my energy into the stuff I love.
What a revelation!
It’s difficult enough to find the motivation to exercise, even if you like what you’re doing. There is no reason to make this any harder.
So runners: I’ll see ya at the finish line. Or at a bar after the race, bloody mary in hand.