While I was running my last half marathon in May I was having all of these thoughts and feelings that swung back and forth from energized and happy to downright angry and frustrated. Running is a very emotional and physically taxing activity for me, so it is no surprise that my thoughts are all over the place when I am attempting to complete a long race. After that race I wondered what people would think if they could hear what goes on inside my head while I am running, so the excerpt below is basically a snapshot of that craziness. It's nothing if not entertaining.
This little stream of consciousness might make you question if I even enjoy running at all. Make no mistake, I absolutely love it, because even though it is really hard, it pushes me to be better - both physically and mentally. I have never been an athletic soul and I am not a fast runner - I won't be winning any awards any time soon (except for the finisher's medal they give out at most races to everyone who steps over the finish line) - but with each race I train for, I can feel myself getting stronger. Two years ago I was having a tough time training to run 5K races and now I am training to run 26.2 miles. Running will never come easily to me and during any given race (even the shorter ones), I will always have this emotional stream of consciousness, but somehow even through all the emotional and physical turmoil, I am somehow able to get it together and push through. And then after all the muscle soreness wears off, I sign up for the next race...
Starting Line: I’m nervous but I’m pumped. I can totally do this. I’ve got this. Crap, can I do this? Double knot the sneakers. Stretching, stretching. Everyone else looks so relaxed and I am starting to freak out over here. I am the least athletic-looking person here. I totally got this, I have been training for months. I have done this before. I've got this! Okay here goes nothing.
Mile .5: Ugh why is it so hard for me to regulate my breathing when I first start?! Everyone else is flying by me and I feel like it’s my first time running over here. Why the hell do I sign up for these races? And do I have to pee already? Jesus Christ.
Mile 1-3: False alarm about having to pee. Okay, I am good. Really really good! The running app on my phone says I am going at a faster pace than normal, but I totally won’t burn out because I’m in a good groove. Feeling great! Just keep going.
Mile 4: Time for another Gatorade chew to keep me fueled. These things are so awesome! Wow, this is a fantastic running mix. I should be a DJ for road races. That would be a really fun job! I could just play lots of fun 80s music on the sidelines and cheer on runners as they go by. Oh I love this song – yay, Guns N’ Roses!
Mile 5: I need water. It’s been way too long sing I had water. Now water is all I can think about. I know it’s only been 1.5 miles since the last water station but I think I am dying of thirst over here. I am so thirsty I might tackle that girl over there and take her Camelbak.
Mile 5.5: Water water water water. Seriously, where is the damn water station?
Mile 6-8: I am feeling so awesome! I am more than half way through this race and I feel like I could run forever. Woo-hoo endorphins! Another Gatorade chew thingy and I am on my way! Finish line here I come! I am definitely going to do another half marathon.
Mile 9: Ugh. This must be that proverbial wall I have heard about and man did I just hit it hard. Ouch. You mean to tell me I have another 4.1 miles left of this shit? I can’t go on. I just can’t. Kill me now. I am never running again.
Mile 10-11: If I have to eat another frigging Gatorade chew I am going to vomit. And to the lady standing on the side of the road cheering on the runners, please do NOT say “you’re almost there” – I am NOT almost there. “Almost there” means I can see the finish line. Is there a finish line in sight? No. So knock it off.
Mile 12: This is the longest race ever. I have 1.1 miles left and it might as well be 100 miles. Blisters, blisters everywhere.
Mile 12.5: Holy crap I am close. You must finish this race running. Time for the magic mile, baby. To hell with the blisters, let’s do this thing. Let's kick it up.
Mile 13: Why in God’s name is this race 13.1 miles? It should just end at 13. The remaining .1 is so ridiculous. If this race were just 13 miles I'd be done by now. Keep running, finish strong, baby. It's almost over.
Finish Line: Wow, I hurt. Am I going to vomit? No wait, no, I am fine. Keep walking and moving, don't want to cramp up. I need to find my family. And a banana. And water. That race was amazing. I kinda killed it. I am awesome. But I bet I can beat my time in the next half marathon…