Last night, I ran what I will refer to as the Crash & Burn 5K of 2012.
First, let me explain: I hate running right now. I don’t think I’ve recovered from the marathon yet, mentally. By mid-June, when I had the desire to run again, it was hot and humid every day. I don’t remember the last run I enjoyed. <insert huge sad face here> I also thought I could spend the summer working on speed. I hate speed work. I really hate speed work in the heat. I’ve tried fartleks, tempo runs, track workouts, and hills. Nothing is working. I hate all of them. And none of them seem to be working. I’m not getting any faster. I’m running slower than I was in May. Is it just the heat, or is it exhaustion? I don’t know.
I signed up for the Pace Setters XCountry 5K a couple months ago. This is my third year running this race. The first year, I thought it was fun, although I also thought I was going to die. Last year, I thought I was going to die. I don’t know why I imagined this year would be any different.
I had the week before planned out. I ran Friday morning. Saturday, we were camping, so I hiked and biked. Sunday, we went for a short (but extreme) hike. Monday and Tuesday were rest days. Wednesday, I ate really well and hydrated all day. I was excited about the weather – only 40% humidity! Oh, and 89°. After work, I put on my new running outfit – everything matches! – and headed to the park.
It was the same course as the last three years, and it’s a rough one. Cross-country is a completely different world from running on roads or even trails. The ground is uneven. There are small hills everywhere. There are sticks waiting to be tripped over.
The gun went off, and I started. WAY. TOO. FAST. When will I learn? When when when? I need to start running with a 40-pound pack that I don’t shed until the half-mile mark, apparently, to slow me down. At half a mile, Runmeter told me my pace was 8:16. WHAT THE BLEEP, JES? I’ve been lucky to sustain 9:45 for 3 miles for the past month.
I tried keeping it up for another quarter mile, but then I started sweating. My legs realized they were running on uneven surfaces and started to protest. My lungs said, “Jes, give us MOAR AIR!” By mile 1, my pace was down to a reasonable 9:45. At 1-1/2 miles, I was at 10:45 and had to walk. I had to walk. During a 5K. I was swearing at myself out loud, I was so mad. At this point, I decided I just needed to finish, running the entire way, pace be damned.
I finished. The good news: I beat my time from last year. Bad news: it still sucked.
At least I got the t-shirt. I love the t-shirts from this race. I wear them all time. Then I stretched and stretched and headed home. Dinner was pizza and beer to celebrate.
Dear running, I love you, but I need a break. I think we need to see other people for a while. See, I got this new Trek bike, and I’d like to spend some time with him. You should go see someone who either likes running in soul-sucking heat, or has cooler weather.
I’m going to take a week, at least, off running. Maybe more. I’m not going to run again until I wake up and think, “The best possible way to start this day would be to run.” I lost that, somewhere in the last few months, and I miss it. Terribly. I did not wake up thinking that this morning. I woke up late and thought, “Oooh, coffee!”
Other runners: please tell me you’ve had this happen to you. That after a while, the love came back.