On Friday, I took my shiny new playlist out cruising (jogging), intending to bosh out at least 2 hours of pavement pounding. I managed about an hour or so of trying to keep my lungs from lurching out of my mouth, and at around mile 5/6, I had to admit defeat. Personally, I like it when my lungs are inside my body. Trouble is, I still had 4 miles to get back to both my car and water (the latter because I threw my bottle in a bin in a tantrum because the sloshy noises it was making was getting on my nerves).
Luckily, I live in glorious Swansea and was beach adjacent. A 4 mile walk/sulk could be a lot worse without lapping waves and the adrenaline of walking by that seagull that always dive bombs me when I'm in the vicinity (it is the same one every time, I'd recognise that evil bird in a seagull line up any day!). So, walked out to the wetter sand to get firmer footing for my journey back.
Trouble is, the sand was so wet and so loose that with each step I sank further and started to fear that I was going to get swallowed up by quicksand like what they do in cartoons. I threw a few panicked looks at a couple of dog walkers off in the distance, who didn't seem bothered at all that the lady in the shorts seemed to be getting shorter with each step. No avail.
Anyhoo, I did survive my terrible ordeal with only some very manky trainers, and didn't sink all the way to China. Even though that would be cool, as I've never been to China. I realised somewhere in between the lung spewing and the wading that I really wasn't enjoying myself and that if my fitness levels are at a point where 6 miles makes me want to cry, then maybe a half marathon is something I should take a rain check on.
Yeah, I probably could get around the route with a bit of weeping and hobbling, but I would hate every single bloody second of it, and that's not why I started running. I want to enjoy it.
Anyhoo, turns out, the decision was the best one for me right now, for reasons thusly [clears throat]:
- Friends were 100bazillion times less judgy and more lovely about the decision than I'd anticipated. I often forget that whether I run or not has no impact whatsoever on what my nearest and dearest think of me. It only matters, and only should matter to me.
- I've been on 2 runs since the horrific Friday one. I focused on maintaining a pace where I could feel calm and my mind could wander. They've been so, so slow and punctuated with walking, but how I've felt after them beats the hell out of the guilt and physical discomfort of the ones I pressure myself to be faster-faster-further in. I have CrossFit and sessions with Run4All for intensity. My solo runs are my "me time" and so during them, I should enjoy them as I see fit, even if that means being overtaken by zimmerframe users.
- One of my CrossFit coaches saw my offer to offload my Cardiff Half place and let me know that he's holding a course soon for people who want to learn how to balance CrossFit and distance running better. This couldn't have come at a better time!
- Next Sunday, I can now go to the Cardiff Half and scream like a banshee at my friends who are running. This will terrify them into running so fast that they overtake the elites and ultimately win. Hurrah!
And here is a link to a Huffington Post video in which Benedict Cumberbatch tries and fails to pronounce the word "penguins". Enjoy!