They're the runs where you float along on clouds. Where every step seems effortless. Where even the steepest hills seem flat. Where you feel like you can run forever.
My 30k yesterday was not like that.
It was hard!
There were no clouds - except for the ones in the sky. There was no effortlessness. There were steep hills. And I didn't feel like I could run forever. In fact there was some walking. Mostly up those hills. But I finished it. And that's really all I'd planned to do.
There was a big plus that I'm taking away from the run - even though the running part wasn't so great. I didn't get nervous or anxious about running it. Not once. That would be the first race that I've done this year where I wasn't. Yay me!
So what went wrong? Mostly I think it came down to not planning my eating well enough the day before and going out a little harder than I'd intended. I was starting to fatigue around the halfway mark and only keeping myself going with the promise that I could stop and walk a bit once I'd gotten to 20k.
From there nearly every kilometre had a little bit of walking in it. But there's a point where you just give up caring about your splits. All you want to do is make it to the finish line.
I'd been running to that point without music and it seemed as good as any time to add a sound track to my misery. Maybe an up-beat song would lighten the load? Can't say that it made the running any easier but it did supply me a wry laugh in the last kilometre. I was heading towards the finish line (which had also been the start line) when Coldplay's The Scientist started to play.
'Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I'm going back to the start'
Never have the lyrics fitted my situation so perfectly.
What a relief to have it done. My legs were tight and sore and on the verge of cramping up. I was covered in salt crystals - even though it was fairly cool I'd still managed to sweat a lot. I just wanted to curl up into a little ball and sleep. But I had to drive myself back to where I was staying first.
When I got into the unit I just collapsed onto the couch. And stayed there for a couple of hours until I had the energy to move again. And by that time I'd stiffened up so much I was moving like a severely arthritic octogenarian. Every time I had to move was accompanied by groaning. So packing up the car to go back home was a fairly vocal affair.
Luckily two of my greatest fears didn't eventuate. I didn't go into cramp while changing gears on the trip home. And I was able to get up the stairs at home without assistance. But when I finally lay down on the couch I basically didn't move (except to get more fluids or go to the loo) for the entire afternoon and evening - which suited Toby because he'd missed me and needed to lay next to me or on me to make sure I wasn't going to disappear again.
But despite being so sore and miserable and despite the run being pretty awful, I'll probably do it again. Because we runners are a little weird like that. We hate to leave things on a sour note. We like to achieve what we set out to. So I'm pretty sure I'll take up the challenge again. But firstly I need to conquer the challenge of walking.