A Bad Run is Better than No Run

Yesterday, I was grumpy. I’ve been told I’ve been in a bad mood for most of the past two weeks but I don’t really have a specific reason why. Maybe it’s because my volunteer work is done for the season or maybe it’s the slight financial stress I’ve been under, but I truly believe it has been the lack of true, heart-pumping exercise.

For the month of September, I did almost no exercise that raised my heartbeat beyond what my body is used to doing on a weekly basis. I know that when I exercise, even for just 30 minutes, I feel much better. I’m happier, more energetic and more talkative.

Last week, going for a run with the running club and going hiking certainly helped, but it was apparently short-term. I’m realizing I’m the type of person that needs to be active to relieve stress and banish a foul mood. I never thought this would be the case, since I’m pretty lazy when it comes to things I don’t want to do.

At lunch, I was reading Sole Sisters: Stories of Women and Running (review coming tomorrow) and it motivated me and made me want to go for a run. I figured it couldn’t hurt my crabbiness, either, so when I got home I immediately suited up. The dog wasn’t happy that I didn’t take him, but he can only keep up for about 2-3 miles right now and my goal was 6 miles.

On the way to the path I run on, I had a slight verbal argument with a teenage punk who honked and locked up his breaks because the Cadillac in front of him actually stopped for me in the crosswalk. Looking back, it wasn’t smart to mouth off to someone when I was on my way to run by myself on a mostly deserted path, with no cell phone, but luckily it didn’t go anywhere. As I said, I was in a bad mood. (Note to boyfriend: please don’t reprimand me for this! I realize it was dumb and won’t do it again.)

My run turned out to be one of the worst runs I’ve had in a long time. Everything was just wrong about it. My calf muscles were super tight which messed with my normal running form, I couldn’t find a rhythm and my feet started going numb because my shoes were tied too tight. I had to cut back the distance and turn around before I had originally intended and I had to stop to loosen my shoelaces.

Even with all that was going wrong, I took only one very short walking break to try to wake my tingling foot up. The weather was gorgeous, particularly for this time of the year inMinnesota. It was 84 degrees and sunny with a slight, warm breeze. How could I not spend the evening outside?

The thought that kept pushing me on was, “By this time next year, I’ll have completed a half marathon already.” That alone was motivating enough to keep going. It reminded me that I need to get serious about my running if I don’t want to die attempting 13.1 miles. It also reminded me that I have a promise to keep to the ladies I’m running the half marathon with. I don’t want to hold anyone back, so I better get my head in the right place long before I need to start the official training plan.

When I got done with my run, I was in a much better mood. One would think that the bad run would only add to the bad mood, but the exact opposite happened. Whether it be the endorphins of running or simply being outside enjoying the amazing weather, something changed and I felt drained physically, but relaxed mentally.

Last night, I slept hard and woke up before my alarm this morning, which was a pleasant reminder that I just need to work up a sweat to feel better all around. It was a reminder that even a bad run is better than no run at all.

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