I am running The Grand River Charity Race Series again this year and I’m already 2 races in.
I’ve been debating if I even wanted to recap these races in great detail because both of them felt dreadful due to my running streak, which has finally come to an end. The last 30ish days of the 101 day running streak (101 days because the 100th day was a Sunday and then I had Running Club on Monday) felt horrible. I ran both of these races during the last 30ish days of the running streak.
Surprisingly, I ran 40 seconds faster than last year at the Sequoia Glen 5k. I was happy but I really wasn’t as satisfied with it as I should have been. There were a lot of things going on in my head that day and I was completely exhausted. I hadn’t run as many hills I should have going into this uphill race and I didn’t do a lot of fast running because it was a very icy winter. This race started at 10am so the morning of the race Phil and I had a lot time to be at home before we had to leave. It was a pretty cold morning and I remember deciding to wear leggings to race in and a long sleeve shirt. I distinctly remember picking several layers of clothes off my bedroom floor and wandering into the kitchen to have coffee and Nutella rice cakes. My overall attitude toward the race was equivalent to the kind of attitude school kids have when they have to read chapter books over the summer and write an essay about it before school even starts. I was unenthusiastic, miserable, cold, and disinterested. I wanted to run the race but I also didn’t want to run the race. I don’t even like this race because it goes straight up hill for a mile and a half and then straight back down the hill. At the top it’s a dirt road and its kind of rocky. It’s just not my favorite race in the world, and yet I will continue to do it because I want to learn to love it one day. This race is a good challenge but it is not something I think I’ll ever be Christmas morning excited about.
When we arrived I saw some of my friends, that was exciting. We signed up for the race and I decided to warm up by running up the hill, that was not exciting. I was secretly being really negative about everything. I thought about running away but I didn’t because Phil was also running the race and he would have noticed immediately if I wasn’t at the start. I’m sure he wouldn’t have been happy. So, I didn’t run away. I sucked it up and went to the starting line to run the race.
At the start I was mad because I felt cold. I was mad because I was hungry. I was mad because I wanted more coffee. I was tired from running 70 something days in a row. I was irritated because I didn’t run a lot of hills over the winter. I was irritated that winter wasn’t going away. I was mad because I wanted to be anywhere else in the world but where I was—and this is a feeling or fear and anxiety that I don’t enjoy. This is a feeling I’ve worked diligently to overcome and haven’t experienced in many years, but it is also a feeling I know all too well. I was nervous for reasons I am still trying to figure out. I’ve run much bigger, more more significant, and much more important races in my 19 years of running but this race seemed so overwhelming and I am certain my negative attitude was not helping.
When the race started I ran at a controlled pace up the hill until about 1.25 miles into the race when I wanted to stop running and sleep on the side of the road. I was just so tired and continuously checking my watch to see how much further I was from the top of the hill. It seemed like time was standing still. When I got to the top I felt like I was going nowhere, and then when I started going back down the hill I couldn’t move fast enough to enjoy running down a hill. I was smart enough, and good enough at math in that moment, to know I would run a course PR if I didn’t slow down. That’s exactly what happened…..I just ran down the hill until I crossed the finish line in 27:15, an entire 40 seconds faster than last year.
The race ended and I went on with my day. My head wasn’t in the race, my heart wasn’t in the race, I ran 40 seconds faster but it didn’t feel good enough at the time. Now, I’m really happy about it though!
Then, last weekend I ran The Grand River Gallop for the 3rd time. Going into this race I was completely apathetic. I had run 98 consecutive days and my legs felt like lead. I wanted to run a ‘good’ time but I knew that was not going to happen. I felt confident going into the race but I also felt like I needed to take several days off from running.
I left the house at an appropriate time to drive to the race. I wanted to drink coffee on the way but my coffee was too hot to drink. I was once again, freezing cold. This was a different kind of cold though, this was the kind of cold that I knew would go away when I warmed up, and it did. I made my way to the starting line in spandex shorts and a hot pink tank top.
The race started and I felt okay the first mile and then the second and third miles felt like I was going nowhere. This is how I feel when I have dreams about running, I am trying so hard to move but I am not gaining distance–exerting so much effort but barely moving. It was like a bad running dream and I just couldn’t wake up. Somehow I kept running and made it to the end of the race crossing the finish line in 21:55. I was mad but I wasn’t mad. I really did run as hard as I could that day, It just wasn’t a good day. I didn’t quit the race, I didn’t get injured, I just couldn’t run any faster because I had chosen to prioritize running 100 days in a row over quality training. It is what it is.
Now that I’ve run 101 days in a row I’m moving on to other things. Bye bye running streak you did not help me accomplish anything. I did not even outrun winter because there was, in fact, a dusting of snow on the ground this morning and it was 28 degrees.