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Bottle It

April 26, 2011
by

Couldn't have said it better myself. (from brainlesstales.com)

Over the past two weeks, I’ve discovered a few kinks in my self-designed Run Some, Be Fine plan. Namely, my motivation is harder to find than Amelia’s other shoe when she’s already five minutes late for school. I lie in bed, after the alarm goes off at 5:20 or so, planning to hit six or so miles, and say to myself, “O.k., two more snoozes and then I’ll wake up.” I wake up forty minutes later, slingshot out the door with drool still slung across my cheek, go for 3 miles and call it good.

My low point hit two Sundays ago. I had 12 on my build-long-run-by-one-mile-weekly schedule, and I forced myself out around 8:30 a.m. It was hot for April in Denver–I immediately regretted wearing my 110% cargo capris–and my legs were lead. Usually I don’t get that weighted down feeling until at least mile six, but seriously, about 10 steps from my house, I was ready to stop. I kept going, thinking that I could break on through to the other side, but after about 45 minutes of feeling like I had gremlins pulling me down with every step, I decided to head home.

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t finish what I set out to do, and it didn’t sit well with me.

I rested on Monday, and before going to bed on Tuesday, I told Grant that I was getting up to do 12. This time for sure. “Why?” he asked, “I don’t think you need to do that.” But I gave him my spiel–Nashville in two weeks, every long run so far had been surprisingly hard for me, I have to represent–and he, that rational being he is, wasn’t buying it. So I trashed the idea of 12, and decided that I’d just keep my workouts short and play my luck out on the road. (Hey: that sounds like a country music song; stay tuned tomorrow for my country music playlist, btw.)

I had one more chance to gain some confidence though: this past Saturday, I had to squeeze in my miles before a 9 a.m. soccer game. The chilly air greeted me and my cargo capris (perfect choice this time) at 6:15, and I set out to do part of the route I abandoned last time. Clicked off eight with barely an issue, and extended my run by another half-mile or so because everything just felt so right. By right, I mean, I hardly walked and ran up every hill, which hasn’t happened in a long time. Every (overplayed) song on my Nano was perfect, every time I looked at my watch, I was surprised at how much time had passed. Watch out, Nashville, I thought, I’m coming for you next weekend, as Pink raised a glass for me during the last downhill home.

I came home, gushed to Grant about how amazing that run was, and then told him, “I want to bottle it,” repeating a line I had heard skydivers use about their sport. (I jumped once, glad I did so, but no desire to fling myself out of a plane again.) But I understood what they were saying, and a run through Utopia makes me want my own elixir. I want to sip that water before the starting line in Nashville, I want to have it at my disposal when all my systems are no.

Unlike skydiving, when you know hurtling towards the ground will give you that life-is-precious high, there is no guaranteed rush in running. No certainty that every run is going to be euphoric. No pre-packaged bottled feeling you know you get to enjoy. I gutted out every run from the Quadrathlon until Saturday–over two months–to finally get an unexpected taste of bliss.

On Saturday, I remembered why I choose to run. All those hard and mediocre miles bring me to a place where very few people get to visit: heaven on their own two legs.

So even if I drag my badass in Nashville (another potential country song?), I’ll try to assuage myself with the knowledge every bad or mundane run bring me one more run closer to another precious sip.

Raise a glass indeed.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2011 5:01 am

    Drink up, Dim. Love it! Congrats on finding that unexpected happy place. Another great reason to support Runsom B. Fine for Congress!

    If you are at ALL inclined to enjoy show tunes, might I humbly suggest “Pump Boys & Dinettes” and “Big River” for your playlist? Even before I was old enough to admit I enjoyed country music, I LOVED these sound tracks.

  2. KathyinMN permalink
    April 26, 2011 5:20 am

    Oh, I so get this post. My run on Sunday finally clicked. I dare say first run this year that did. And it was…amazing. And entirely impossible to describe to non-runners. =)

  3. Lisa permalink
    April 26, 2011 5:41 am

    It’s always gratifying to hear other runners talk about their less than stellar runs.
    Saturday I did 8 on beautiful Cape Cod, it was perfect weather, a bit drizzly, slightly cool. This was my last long run before my full (Providence, 5/1.) All engines should have been firing on full, but I just didn’t feel it. Finished and just felt blah, like they were just junk miles.
    Thanks for reminding me that somewhere, out there, lurks that awesome run. I’ve seen it before and hope to see it again!

    • April 26, 2011 6:33 am

      Hey Lisa–I think you’ll be seeing that awesome run on 5/1!

  4. Martha permalink
    April 26, 2011 5:59 am

    This comes at a perfect time! I have been struggling/dreading run after run but keep going b/c I know the above feeling WILL come back I just have to wait for it! Thanks Dimity for keeping it real 🙂

  5. Kate permalink
    April 26, 2011 6:08 am

    I’m slightly glad to hear that other people have bad days too. Lately, I haven’t had the motivation to run and when I do force myself out there it’s been mediocre. I’ve been blaming it on the chilly, rainy Michigan weather, but I know a lot of it has to do with me. I’m waiting for that one really awesome run to amp up my motivation again.

  6. Elisette Carlson permalink
    April 26, 2011 6:11 am

    Go get ’em, Dim!

  7. April 26, 2011 6:15 am

    I have a half coming up this weekend, too and am so glad that my last 2 long runs came with that amazing feeling. Because several before that sure didn’t. I guess that’s why I keep going out there….to taste that again and remind myself of it even when I’m not running.
    Have fun in Nashville!

  8. April 26, 2011 6:29 am

    I loved this post! I know exactly how you can feel completely unmotivated and just want to have a good run one more time. It can be hard to keep the energy up when you just haven’t felt that “Heaven” in a while.

    Way to go and enjoy Nashville!

  9. April 26, 2011 6:49 am

    I am so glad to read this post! I often feel like I’ve failed myself if I don’t complete my whole run, or if I walk some, or if I don’t “feel it” and get in the groove. Thanks for saying it so much better than I could!

    • April 26, 2011 6:52 am

      Couldn’t agree more with you Hot Mama! It’s so nice to know that a runner like Dimity has “bad” runs.

      I love your blog too. Is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email when you post?

      • April 26, 2011 7:56 am

        Thank you, Karen! I will go get my settings arranged to get e-mail subscriptions set up. Will keep you posted!

      • April 26, 2011 8:07 am

        Karen, I’m new with the publishing aspects, but if you could send me your e-mail address, I’ll add it and you’ll get me when I publish. 🙂

  10. April 26, 2011 6:51 am

    Here’s to it! (*raises glass of Chianti*)

    I’m running in my very first race (a 5K) on Mother’s Day. I am so excited I can hardly stand it! And then my brother put me in my place when he asked if I thought I had a chance to win. *snort* Not unless hell freezes over…But I WILL run it and I WILL finish (which means a PR since I’ve never raced before, right?)

  11. Kali permalink
    April 26, 2011 7:44 am

    Must have been something in the air this weekend. I, too, had a euphoric run on Easter in Oregon. I just wanted to keep going, and was smiling the whole 7 miles 🙂

  12. April 26, 2011 8:23 am

    Nashville was my first half and it is a great city. Enjoy … and splurge on Loveless Cafe afterward. Their food is heaven and SO SO SO worth the wait: fried chicken, biscuits and homemade jams and jellies.

  13. girlsworld permalink
    April 26, 2011 10:05 am

    If you ever figure out how to bottle it, you’re going to share that knowledge, right? Because all the horrible miles that you know you want to do but end up trudging through are what make those AWESOME runs worthwhile. You know it’s out there, you just never know when you’re going to get one.

  14. April 26, 2011 10:17 am

    I’m training for a half in June and my long runs have just been HARD. I find myself walking and not going as fast as I want (perhaps I can’t run as fast as I can for that long yet?). It’s frustrating. 🙂 I want to bottle my good runs too.

  15. Erica permalink
    April 26, 2011 11:46 am

    I have to commiserate as my plan says that I should be upping the mileage but like you just can’t get past 3-4 miles each time. I haven’t been out there in a week and will be going out after I drop off my boys at school…reading this gives me hope, determination and motivation to just go out there and do the 4 miles that I know I *need* to do. Thanks, Dimity!

  16. Michelle permalink
    April 26, 2011 11:51 am

    You always say what I’m thinking so perfectly, sigh. Have a great, great race this weekend! I’ll be doing the Big Sur marathon and channeling my inner Sarah (purple shirt) with my inner Dimity (a few songs you have recommended), along with many, many other people/inspirations that will likely go through my mind during the big run! Have a great weekend:)

  17. Sportsmama457 permalink
    April 26, 2011 12:17 pm

    Thank you Dimity! Obviously you touched a nerve, judging from the responses so far. I think we all thought we were the only ones having trouble getting motivated. I skipped my track workout yesterday morning (hit the snooze button a few too many times!) but you’ve given me the push to get out tomorrow morning for a 3-mile run!

  18. Kathy R permalink
    April 26, 2011 3:15 pm

    I was on vacation in Florida and had to complete 12 mile long run for half marathon training. I went out at 8 am and had to quit after 6.5 due to heat and humidity. Two days later I tried again at 6:45am, made it 6.75 and had to quit. I totally felt like a failure! Managed to do the 5.25 later that day and felt pretty good. There are definitely moments in running that are humbling. I came back North and ran in the 40 degree weather and felt MUCH better! I just keep plugging away and hope that on race day it is NOT hot and humi!(with the cold and rainy April we have had, it is almost a guarentee!)

  19. Adrienne permalink
    April 26, 2011 6:22 pm

    Love, love, love when runs click. It is. THE.BEST.EVER!

  20. Michelle Landrith permalink
    April 26, 2011 7:31 pm

    Amen! Even a bad run isn’t all that bad, but there is nothing better than a run that clicks!

  21. Kim permalink
    April 26, 2011 7:49 pm

    I am running my first half marathon on Sunday. I can totally relate! I was doing great up until the past week and a half and feel like I am in a slump! I will start and I will finish and I will raise a glass! Thanks!!

  22. Rose permalink
    April 26, 2011 7:55 pm

    Oh man, did I need to read this. I took last week off while I was traveling alone with my kids. My first two runs back sucked and I am not loving it right now. It helps to see other people break through the low periods and get back to loving running.

  23. sarah permalink
    April 26, 2011 8:08 pm

    You’re going to do great in Nashville! I hope to see you and SBS there – I’m running the half as well. (With a stress fracture, so I might be dragging a bit….) Good luck!!!

  24. Kimberlee Turner permalink
    April 26, 2011 11:24 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing Dim… It really reminded me of why I run. I have a half on May 8 th and have not ran for five weeks due to a stress fracture. I’ve been really nervous about doing this run but I realize it’s not a PR I’m after… It’s the euphoric feeling! Thanks again!

  25. jennifer permalink
    April 27, 2011 5:30 am

    I was so glad to read this! I’m new to running and have so proud how much easier its getting to pound out 3 miles on my runs. But my last 2 runs have been awful. Had to stop to walk, didn’t do the whole distance,etc. I wonder how much of running comes down to your mental attitude?

  26. April 27, 2011 9:42 am

    I love, love, love reading your posts! I’m training for my first full and the last couple long runs (after the 15 mile mark) have been a STRUGGLE! This was just what I needed before I head out this afternoon!

  27. April 27, 2011 2:31 pm

    Dimity, I can definitely relate. I have been at sea level this week and all of my runs have been of the “bottle it” variety, even though the hills here aren’t trivial. Maybe we should just wear oxygen tanks in Colorado. I think Nashville will be fun for you.

  28. Stephanie Rahill permalink
    April 27, 2011 5:03 pm

    Dimity–nicely put (as always). Hope you kick butt in Nashville! 🙂

  29. April 27, 2011 8:45 pm

    I didn’t realize that I hadn’t had a run that “clicked” in a while until tonight. Despite being on the hamster wheel, a.k.a. the indoor track, I did 4.05 miles and felt and feel great. Haven’t felt this good or confident in a while, and I’m so glad I pushed myself to go the distance. Of course, I thought of this entry as soon as I finished!

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