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.