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Strength vs. Stupidity

(My view at the 4 mile mark)

Their is such a fine line between the two: Strength vs. Stupidity (or Badass vs. Dumbass).  How do we know for sure when we are being strong or just plain stupid?   I am pondering this question after my failed 20 mile run on Friday.

I had just returned home from a fabulous, but extraordinarily busy 5 day vacation with my family on the Wednesday evening before the run.  I had to get up at the crack of dawn Thursday for work and was “running” all day until bed time.  I did not feel well Wednesday night when we returned home and that carried over to Thursday.  In fact, I felt horrible on Thursday.  I was not sure if I was just exhausted, coming down with a GI bug, or needed my gall bladder removed!   

I had my 20 mile run scheduled for Friday and there was really no where to move it too!  I had been looking forward to it and the weather was finally going to cooperate.  I woke up Friday morning feeling a little better, but still had an upset stomach and was a little achey.  I contemplated skipping it, cutting it short,  trying to move it to Sunday, etc. but nothing really worked.  I was worried if I “chickened out” of this run that I would really upset my training plan for my upcoming marathon.  

After wrestling with all of these thoughts, I decided the best thing was to just “Do It”.  I headed out to Cousin’s Island, it’s a 10 mile loop from my house.  I planned on doing this once, then doing another 10 mile loop along the beautiful Foreside Road to complete my distance.  I love these routes and this was the first really nice Spring day here!

I felt ok for the first 5 miles, but I was pretty tight, nothing out of the ordinary though.   I got to the turn around at 5 1/2 miles and kept plugging away, “Ok, over 1/4 of the way done!”  It was a great day, sunny and in the high 40’s.  This is my view at mile 7:

I was doing ok here, then had to climb a bit of hill and managed up it when I hit mile 8.  At this point, I had not taken in much fluid, except a few sips of water.  I knew I needed something more, so took a small sip of my coconut water (what I always use during running).  This did not sit well and I started to get a bit nauseated.  In general, I just felt like I was tanking.  

I made a quick decision not to run back by my house because I did not want to have the option to not finish the run.  Stupidity was rearing its ugly head!  I turned around and headed back toward the beach (the lovely view pictured at mile 4).  I was running slow, but I was running.  At mile 10, I took in a few Honey Stingers.  I had been avoiding anything solid, as I did not want to upset my digestive tract.  At mile 11, I was DONE!  Nausea, massive abdominal cramping (different from running cramps) and just exhaustion.  I was so upset I had to stop and walk, which I never do.  I planned on walking a 1/4 mile, then running again.  As soon as I started running, I felt horrible again.  I was several miles from home and was not sure what to do.  Was I being a baby?  Should I force myself to run anyway? After all, my 16 & 18 mile runs went well, despite terrible weather.  I definitely have the cardiovascular capacity to do this run, why is this happening?

I decided to walk/run.  I alternated running & walking between telephone poles.  My belly hurt, I was looking for places that  I could dash off into the woods, if necessary.  I kept at it, then would wonder if this was psychological.  “Clearly, it’s physical. I’m sick!”  And so the conversations in my head went back & forth for a few miles until I made it home.  

Even as I hit my driveway at mile 15, I was not sure if I had done the right thing.  Should I have pushed myself more?  Did I give up too easily?  The answer to this unfolded pretty quickly, as I got into the house and continued to feel miserable with a GI bug for the next 24 hours.  

(My dog Gus- he thinks whatever I do is awesome! 🙂 )
I am feeling better now and I am glad that I spent the weekend resting as much as I could.  However, there is a part of me wondering if we will ever know for sure if we are being Strong or Stupid?