So there’s thing in running about finishing strong, maybe you’ve heard about it? People loooove to tell you to “power through!” and “finish strong!” You’re supposed to exhaust the exact perfect amount of energy throughout your run so that you can go balls out at the very end and use of that last bit to finish strong. I don’t know why that’s the best way to do it, it just is. It also happens to be the part I can never nail. Maybe in another 50 years there will be a paradigm shift in running where some forward-thinking and innovative runner realizes that the actual best way to run is to blow your load in the first mile and spend the remainder of the race wheezing and hobbling toward the finish. And then everyone will realize what a visionary I was. Also, maybe we’ll find that bunions offer some kind of evolutionary advantage and I am actually superhuman.
Anyway, my problem is that I am impatient, I think I’m stronger (and cooler and funnier and better looking) than I really am, and when I’m feeling good, I forget how far I’ve got left to go. I’m one of those assholes in Mile 2 going, “I feel so good, I think I’ll run 20 seconds under my goal pace even though I’ve never trained at this pace and there’s no earthly reason to think I might be able to maintain it for 26 miles! Wooo!” Then the wheels fall off at Mile 20. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I did a much shorter version of this the other day, when I tried to do 3 measly miles at we’ll call my “goal not-sucking pace.” Clearly I have no idea how far or how fast I’m capable of running anymore because the wheels fell off at MILE TWO and I finished shittily.
After that unpleasantness, I smarted up (just a little) and instead of ending with a run/walk, which can make a person feel like a pathetic failure, I started out with a run/walk and just…maintained. Yeah, maintained. Fucking novel, right? I didn’t run fast, but I ran at a pace I could hold through the whole thing and I think that should probably be the loftiest goal I set for myself at this point.
Anyway, the representation you see above marks the first time post-being-ravaged-by-baby that I ran and actually felt some semblance of the old me. Once, I even caught myself running at a 10:30 pace and I wasn’t even trying to pass a plump lady walking her dog or a mom with a stroller or an old man in long shorts with socks pulled up to his knees. (You can’t escape your competitive nature even when you suck; you just have to pick your battles.) So even though running makes me ache from the inside out and my poor ankles get slushy from holding up my fat ass, I am starting to have just a tiny bit of fun. But if you tell me to “power through,” I’ll eat your face.