I promise I won’t write about every single run (after all, I have a cute baby to take pictures of), but I felt like the second day back warranted mentioning.
Because the second day is always worst than the first. And even though I’ve talked many runners off the ledge after their second day of running, I forgot what was in store for me.
On the first day your legs are fresh and your eyes are wide. You’re out there enjoying the fresh air and your athletic accomplishments. You’re AMAZING! Look at you go! You set out with a goal to just come back alive, and you finish feeling pretty darn decent.
Maybe I should switch all that from second person to first person. Because that’s how I feel every time I’ve had to take a break from running and then get back to it. I’m amazed at the first run, which leads me to do something dangerous. I start thinking the road back isn’t very long. I start thinking maybe I’ll be running faster and farther by the end of the week. I start daydreaming about going for a run and feeling so darn great I actually lose track of time and distance (never mind that that’s never happened to me in the 15 years [whoa] I’ve been running, I still expect it might…one day).
And then I go for my second run.
This is what I tell new runners struggling through Day Two: Never ever get discouraged by Day Two. Day Two is always harder than Day One. Your legs are tired, shell-shocked, and sore. You’ve got to run past Day Two and never look back!
That’s what I tried to tell myself on this particular run. I felt sluggish and achy. I wanted to cut the run short. During my first run I thought about maybe running three miles on Friday. Why stick to the training plan when I feel this good? During my second run I couldn’t imagine ever running three miles. And I’m not even running three miles yet, I’m run/walking. I have so far to go…
Now that I’m not running and my head is a little more clear, I’m going to try to run past Day Two and not look back. Day Three is on the horizon, and the great thing about exercise is that it always gets easier. That’s just the way God made us.
Another one of my running mantras: never make training decisions while running. I’m nothing if not bi-polar about running while running. For some reason, while I’m running, adopting weird, stringent training seems like a good idea to me. Plus, it seems like something I’ll actually follow through with. This happens regularly, even though I’ve never even come close to going through with any of it. The other side of the pendulum is what I’m more worried about. It says (loudly):I’m not a good runner, I’ve never been a good runner and I’m never going to be a good runner. So why continue this torture?
It’s torture, that’s undeniable, but the truth is I love running. I’ve never been fast and I’ll probably never be fast, but you don’t do something you hate for 15 years.
The decision to never do this again was at the front of my mind when I rounded the sidewalk to home. I looked at my watch. Two miles in 26:14. It’s not fast by any means, but lo and behold, it’s faster than Day One. That’s reason enough to go out for Day Three.
I am a shadow of my former self.
I am a shadow of my former self with a baby.