Einstein Wasn’t A Runner

Why do we do these things to ourselves?
Why do we keep running when it hurts?
Why do we pull rookie mistakes even though we know better?
It only hurts a little, I’ll just keep going, and maybe the pain will stop. Ok, maybe it’ll stop when I stop running at the end of my run. Well, it should stop hurting tomorrow with some ice and rest. Beer should numb the pain. This, of course, turns into running it off the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. A couple weeks later, you’re in the Dr’s office and being told you need ice and rest. Exactly what you knew from the start but were too afraid to stop running. How many times have you done this? Me? Twice- last winter and this winter. And I’m doing it again right now with the same injury. But this time I think I learned something. I’ve iced, rested it, and done the PT exercises I was supposed to be doing (well, I was doing them the first couple weeks, but, being an idiot, I slacked off the past few weeks). It’s been about a week and the pain seems to have subsided, so I guess I’ll start right up with some heavy miles, hill repeats and speed work. Seems like the Idiot thing to do.
Rookie mistakes? Nah, not this Idiot. I’ve never, ever tried using a never before tried (by this runner at least) protein energy drink during a rather hot and humid half trail marathon. Ok, you busted me, I did. I thought “Hey, it’s gonna be hot, it’s a longish race, why not try a drink with protein to help my muscles stay strong”. Really freaking smart, Einstein! At about mile 1 my stomach started cramping up. I figured it couldn’t be the brand new energy drink that I’ve never had before. So, I passed by aide station one and kept going. Well, the stomach cramps kept going, and going…but even worse than before. After mile 5 I figured it was the energy drink and had to skip drinking anything for the next 1.5 miles until I got to the next aide station. I rinsed out the bottle, added some water and went on my way. After a slow mile+, my stomach started to feel better and I was able to pick up the pace again. Moron.
Race too much? Run too hard all the time? I didn’t even know you weren’t supposed to run hard every run and spread out races until last summer. I’d try to PR training loops every run and get pissed if I didn’t. Taper? Isn’t that the stuff you use to hold pieces of paper together? I guess we learn some things as we go…kinda. Even after reading about the benefits of alternating easy days and hard days, as well as tapering into some longer races, I did no such thing going into the above-mentioned half. I finished ok, even with the stomach cramping issues. I took off Monday, and then did some speed work on Tuesday because I was doing a 5k that I wanted to PR in on Saturday. What? A 5k on Wednesday? OK! Why not do to really hard 5k efforts in a row 3 days before a goal race two days after a tough half marathon. I ended up PRing the Wednesday 5k, finishing in the top 20 and placing 2nd in my age group. I ran easy Thursday (8 miles or so) and then came Friday night. Oh, an after work party! Cool! I’m in for a few beers! And a few hours of sleep. And come my goal 5k Saturday? Yeah, I PRed again, finishing in the top 20 and taking 1st place in my age group. The best part? It was on the X-Country course of the school district I work for and none of my former students beat me.

What can we learn from this? Well, we’re Idiots, and we’re runners. We know what to do and what not to do. We’re also Idiots (in case you forgot from a couple sentences ago) and we will make these mistakes again. As long as you have fun, who cares?! Go out an enjoy life to the fullest! Go out, find some fellow Idiots and RUN!

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