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June 4, 2010 / elodie kaye

Anatomy of a Lousy Run

The first mile is slow and creaky.  Even though the days are warm now, it takes me a mile to warm up my moving muscles.  Sometimes it’s stiffness in my knees, or ankles, tight calves, or achilles, a twinge in my hip.  The little aches move around as I take short, shuffling steps.  My breathing is ridiculously easy, but I’m used to waiting.

After a mile or so, a hill, a street crossing, a passing neighbour, some small interruption makes me pick up my feet.  If it feels okay, I resume a slightly quicker or longer stride.  If not, I go back to the shuffle for a bit longer.  Normally, this is the point where I stop thinking about how to run.  My legs wander off on autopilot, if I have no structure in mind.  I look around, I wave at babies and dogs, I notice what’s in bloom.

These days, my legs do not obey.  Legs and arms go their own way, like lotto balls in a drum.  My feet are loud on the asphalt if I forget about them.  My right leg decides to take longer strides than the left, but the opposing arm doesn’t get the memo and it lags behind.  It’s an hour of coaxing all my limbs to please, please get along.

I come back mentally exhausted with legs battered.  It doesn’t matter whether the run is 2 miles or 6.  They’re all comically difficult.  Before I stopped looking at my heart rate data, I could see that I hadn’t worked very hard, even though I felt like I’d waged a war.

Yet every day I still wake up and look forward to my run with hope.  Maybe this 5-miler will be the one that comes to me painless and smooth.  I don’t even wish for it to be effortless; I’m prepared to work, if working will make it feel natural again.  Like a team on a losing streak though, my hope has become timid.

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2 Comments

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  1. Sara Grace / Jun 5 2010 9:00 pm

    You’ll get your mojo back Elodie!! Just be patient with yourself.

    • elodiekaye / Jun 8 2010 8:32 pm

      Another of my friends agrees with you, though he doesn’t have such a sunny disposition as you do! 🙂

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