For much of the day on Saturday, the weather was beautiful and I was pumped for what was going to be my third outdoor run of the week. Sheila and I are slowly converting our study\guest bedroom into a place for yoga and exercise, and I decided to postpone my run until later in the day so that we could spend a few hours organizing multiple years’ worth of documents.
Don’t ask me how this lifelong Clevelander forgot that the weather can change on a moment’s notice around here, but I got a harsh reminder when I took a peek outside a few hours into the cleaning process only to see white-out conditions. I was frustrated, but I figured that investing a few hours into creating an indoor exercise space was just as important as running.
We finally finished cleaning at 8:45PM. My urge to run hadn’t gone away and snow was no longer falling. The sidewalks didn’t look too covered, and I hoped that there wasn’t any ice on the sidewalks either since they had been clear earlier in the day. I figured that every Cleveland runner needs to learn how to run on snow-covered surfaces at some point and that Saturday night was as good of a night as any. Throwing caution to the wind, I laced up my trust Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s and headed out for a quick 3.3 mile run.
Once I got the hang of running on snow, I settled into a comfortable pace and I had a blast! Sure, I felt the ground slip beneath me a few times, but the feeling was similar to the feeling of running on wet pavement. The crisp evening air and sparking snow created almost a Narnia-esque atmosphere in my neighborhood and I trotted along with a gigantic smile on my face and 90s rap playing in my ears.
I turned around at the 2.3 mile mark to head home and thought to myself, “Boy, this has been one of my best runs ever.”
My joy turned to shock as I promptly wiped out headfirst approximately 3 seconds later!
God was definitely looking out for me that night, as I fell forward onto a snowbank and had a relatively soft landing. I was more stunned than anything else. As I slid, my phone changed from my Pandora station to phone mode and called my boss’s cell phone, which was answered by his daughter. I had been listening to an Eminem song from the era in which he used to put his daughter’s voice on his tracks, and I thought that her voice was actually the voice of Eminem’s daughter and that it was part of the song! Fortunately, my boss is very understanding and he told me at church that he and his family were concerned about me until I texted him when I got home to let him know that all was well. I’m blessed to have a boss who reacts like this—many of my former bosses would not have responded so favorably!
Anyhow, after I recovered from the shock of falling, I got right up and felt absolutely no pain whatsoever! Feeling very invigorated, I proceeded to run the last mile home with a gigantic smile on my face. I did eventually feel a bit of knee pain, but it was nothing serious and I felt absolutely fine on Sunday morning.
I think my experience throughout this run is a microcosm of the ups and downs that we all face as we train for a race. There are days on which the wind is in our sails and on which we feel wonderful. However, there are also days on which injuries, the stresses of daily life, weather conditions, or many other factors can beat us up and make us feel like we’ve been tossed the ground.
On those latter types of days, though, we must keep pushing forward one dogged step at a time. Maybe you’ll finally break through and end your run with a smile on your face, or maybe you’ll wind up back at home feeling horribly. I’ve only been running since June 2012 and I’ve had both types of endings to a tough run.
What I can guarantee, though, is that you’ll look back on these types of runs after you rip off a great race at the end of your training and think, “I’m so glad I didn’t quit.”
Unless you’re hurt, don’t quit when you’re feeling battered and worn down. Even if you have to stop and walk multiple times and your pace per mile turns out to be that of a turtle, don’t quit. All of us read the story of the tortoise and the hare when we were younger, right? Slow and steady won the race for the tortoise, and slow and steady dogged determination over time will add up to a great race for you at the end of your training program!
How do you push through your runs on a tough day?