How fast can YOU run in pain?

I have stood at the bottom of the mountain. With a stoic pause and clinched teeth, I… ran around the damn thing! That’s what you do when you have bulging lumbar discs! I joke, but not to make light of it. I courageously decided to embark on a 16 mile run after 3 weeks of rehabbing and protecting my spine from impact. Well, that was my mountain. And finishing only 12 miles, that was my failure.

Yes, it was. People try to tell me differently. But, I know what happened to my passion, my drive. I started strong and hopeful, and watched my Garmin much too carefully, as it showed how my average mile pace fell steadily with each mile.

I was a wuss! At mile 6, I wussed out. Cut out 4 miles right then and there. Told myself I would add them back if I felt good. Oh, hell no! Of course, that would never happen.

I used to have this quote written on my office chalkboard at school. “It’s not about how fast you can run. It’s about how fast you can run in pain.” Like I needed this quote to haunt me for two and a half hours. But, it did.

I’m not upset though. I learn from all experiences. I learned that I will never think that people who run slower than I do put forth less effort. I will never think that again. Because it was so much harder to drag along and watch the road ahead of me never, ever come to an end. Much more of a mental challenge to keep going, knowing that going that slow is no great feat. Not a PR. Not an age group award in a race. It’s nothing. But, I kept going, trying to figure out how to cut out more mileage. Not the mentality that qualified me for the Boston Marathon in the first place!

Next weekend, I am going to do it again. But, differently. Above all else, I am leaving my Garmin at home. (Not really, but I will say that all week.) And I am going to run for a time goal, not a mile goal. (Again, that’s a load of crap, but that’s what I will tell people.)

What will I do? Probably the same thing I did this past weekend, with a greater appreciation for the journey. I will make sure I enjoy the route I plan, hopefully allowing the miles to tick by a little faster, despite what my Garmin says!


About judithisbell

Judith is a physical fitness professional offering advice and anecdotes about healthy lifestyles.
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2 Responses to How fast can YOU run in pain?

  1. cmarchong says:

    Great post Judith! Working out in pain is no joke. Running with the pain you had to endure can be excruciating. I commend you for running the distance. There is no failure if you get out there and do it – no matter the distance. Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading more of your running success stories.

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