On today's 20-mile run my running partner and I swung by our cars at mile 16. A few friends who had finished shorter runs were still there.
"How many more?" they asked us.
"Four," we replied.
"How're you feeling?" they asked.
I shook my head and gulped water. "This is a really stupid sport," I answered.
Forgive me. I lose my manners after a certain amount of tiredness sets in. Just ask the poor guy at the Richmond marathon two years ago. I was barely moving at a trot and just gave up and started walking around mile 18. I was tired, upset at missing my time goal and just in an overall foul mood, which must have showed on my face.
"Tough day?" he asked sympathetically.
I looked at him and scowled. "I hate this %@$*-ing sport," I said.
He quickly moved on.
I feel bad about it, now. But there really does come a point where I am just not fit to be around other human beings.
Today wasn't that bad although I was tired. VERY tired. The tired kicked in around mile 15 and didn't go away. But I wasn't upset about it. We'd held a fast, solid pace up to that point--much faster than the training called for--so I was willing to cut myself some slack.
And though it's difficult to explain, I really do love this sport. I especially love it when the heavy tiredness sets in. Even though my body is half-dead from exhaustion, I feel more alive than at any other point during my week.
Why? It's something to do with having to leave all the excuses behind and just buckle down and do the work. But there's a comfort in knowing I can do it. That I can push past that point where all I want to do is stop.
I'm not sure, however, this skill serves me elsewhere in life. My running partner asked if my husband ran. He's just started, but I explained that Blair prefers workouts with a purpose. If you need a field cleared or a shed built, he's your man. I think he struggles with running because he's just... running.
I'm the opposite. I'll run all day long for no reason but ask me to pick up sticks from the yard and I'm like, "Huh! But it's hard. And I'm tired. And whine-whine-whine."
So much for that mental toughness.