My Nemesis: The 16-Miler.

Today, despite pumped up kicks and new gadgetry, was a bitch of a 16-miler. I think I was doing okay until mile 10, held on until 12, and then completely fell apart at that point.

My legs were tired. My brain was tired. I had a side stitch and that little fucker, the left shin, had been bothering me the whole time.

Around mile 6, I stopped for hydration and one of my running friends expressed concern over the shin pain. “Well,” she said, “if it doesn’t let up, maybe running’s not your thing.”

I put the concern aside for the moment, but when I was dying at mile 12, it popped back in my head.

Maybe it’s not.

Here’s the funny thing: I still, even after all of this, have a love/hate relationship with running.

But here’s the other funny thing: If you want to do something, you’ll find a way to do it. And it doesn’t matter what it is: joining the circus, going back to school, entering a relationship which might have obstacles.

And while I don’t even know the reason behind it, I want to run this marathon. Even if it’s my last.

At first, I told myself just to walk the 4 miles back. I had nothing left in me. Everything hurt. But then  I told myself I could try to run my running interval, a period of 4 minutes. I continued like this for a while, more walking than running: 4 minutes running, 8 minutes walking.

I told myself that it was ok, I could give up … but I didn’t want to, completely. I wanted to try, at least.

Something that my coaches have been drilling into our heads is not to be ashamed if we have to cut mileage or slow down. The goal is to train smart, and be healthy. Nevertheless, I felt ashamed. And so I just slowed down… a lot.

The group’s bike marshal checked in on me a few times, and that was really helpful. And when I got close to the finish line, I made sure I ran strong across it, so that I could feel good about it.

Even so, I’m glad to put this run behind me.

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