Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flying

I don't run fast. Sometimes I find myself wishing I'd been less defiant in middle and high school and actually tried running, instead of sneering and walking a 15 minute mile. I like to think about how fast I could've run if I'd tried running before birthing two kids. Like, maybe it's possible to run without feeling like your lady parts are going to fall off? I wonder what that's like.

Still, when I finished my first 5k and had enough left in me to really push across the finish line, I loved the feeling. That moment has surprised me at each race I've done, because I usually end up a run thinking, "I want to die. This is so dumb. Why do I run? My lungs hurt. I'm thirsty. My feet hurt. THIS IS DUMB." Yet somehow, I still reach down and find that push at the end. Sometimes I push faster than others, but I always push.

Normally when I run, I look like this.
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Except that I don't normally run in sparkly skirts or with my name pinned to my shirt, but all the rest is the norm. I don't usually smile, either. This picture was taken somewhere between miles ten and eleven of the half and it's simply amazing that I was still moving forward, let alone faking a smile long enough for the photographer to take a picture. Aside from all of that, I think that's what I look like when I run. I never have those moments where both feet are off the ground, because I don't run fast enough for that. And also, I'm very uncoordinated, so I would probably trip and break my face. (And yes, I know. My running form is awful.)

So when I saw the picture of me crossing the finish line, I had to do a double take.
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Hold on. Back foot in the air and a shadow under the front? I did it! Both feet off the ground. In the final tenth of a mile, I pushed up to what would've been a 7:54 mile if I'd maintained (which I think we all know would've resulted in my sudden death). I was so thankful to be done, but also so proud to finally, literally fly across the finish line.

Lately, my runs haven't been that good. I've had maybe one or two good runs since the half, otherwise they've all been struggled. I've felt a little burnt out and like I've lost my mojo. When I'm just not feeling it, I wonder why I keep running. Surely walking would be easier. So sometimes, I slow and walk. I think, How could I run most of 13.1 miles, yet feel my legs give out at 3 these days? It's not really my legs, though. It's more of my mind. I'm in a doubting myself phase--not the first time this has happened and surely not the last, but all I need to do to center and focus is look at this picture... and remember how it felt to briefly have both feet off the ground as I flew across the finish line.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I ran my first half in March. I have also had crappy runs since then but realized I was just burned out - I burned out leading up to the race. Today I did a 5K with my 9 year old daughter and I am finally back, almost 4 weeks later! Enjoy a mini rest!

- Kate

Adventures In Babywearing said...

These photos would have been picked best of the week on Top Model- you worked it! That smile doesn't look fake at all! Such great shots!

Steph

Kirsten said...

Oh, E. The feeling of drudging through runs? Total par for the course. (Heh, no pun intended). But you get out there because you know you can. The running thing is so mental. You can truly convince yourself to do anything (or not do anything) you want. So hang in there. Keep up with the consistency even if the few miles make you feel like "why bother?" Because when you decide to you want to do that next race, you'll be that much better off. I have loved watching you turn into a runner.

Crooked Eyebrow said...

Running?

It looks good on you.

You Have done so well this year in running and we are all so very proud of you.

and I look forward to more runs with you this summer!

jayna said...

At the risk of sounding crazy and really, really weird . . . you are (one of) my inspiration. Through the power of twitter, I got to watch you and a few other people turn into runners. And then, when my time came to plug in the music and trudge through the beginnings of the whole C25k, I would push through, thinking of you guys. These other strong moms out there, running more than I could ever dream of, giving me that wee bit of drive to do it myself.

Thank you :-)

I'm proud to have watched you turn into a runner.

nicole said...

I don't think I'm ever smiling when I run. Not that I'm running much these days. I do know that the runs where I go in with no expectations and just take what I get are usually my better runs.

Bad runs happen to all of us. Keep going!

Barb said...

Bad runs after a big race? Normal. Having the energy to get those feet off the ground at the end of a half marathon? Testament to your training, determination and proof of a goal accomplished. And that's what it's all about right?

P.S. - I think you look fantastic!

Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me said...

I'm pretty sure I could've written every word of this post. Except the sparkly skirt part.

I'm not fast either (slower than you, actually), but I know what you mean about being surprised by that extra push at the end of the race. And I'm sure the only time both my feet have been off the ground is at the end of races, too!

You, my friend, look beautiful.

Bari said...

I love these pictures of you - even if you think it's drudgery, you still look great. Believe me when I say I understand what you're saying. The mojo will come back - hopefully while we are covered in mud :)

Becca @ Our Crazy Boys said...

YOU, my dear friend, are AMAZING!! I am so proud to know you. I have a love/hate relationships with running :)

You looked awesome in both photos!!!

Saj said...

Congrats on your half! I did my first one last summer, and I *totally* lost my mojo for a good month or two after it! I'm back to training for my second half (I'm doing the same one as last year), and I'm feeling pretty good about my runs, for the most part. So hang in there. Give yourself a little break. Then get back into it!

Such The Spot said...

I noticed that both feet were off the pavement, too. But also I just have to say that I am so thoroughly impressed by your "pushing through". I'm one of the wannabe's that gives in to the "THIS IS DUMB" every time. You have a fan in me.

Becky said...

My hero!! Seriously you are a rock star. Congrats!

Sarah said...

I love that you ran in a pink sparkly skirt. And did you really run a half? You look AMAZING. I kind of fell across the finish line during my first race! ;)

Elaine A. said...

These photos are great, Erin. My running photos are terrible, I look like I am in agony the whole time (not far from the truth some of the time!)

I love that you noticed your feet off of the ground in that last one! ;)

And hang in there, you'll get your mojo back. Promise.