Yesterday's run was an epic bomb...terrible, horrible, no good, very bad...all of that and then some.
It was truly the Worst Run Ever...for me.
Now, I know those runs happen.
I've had some tough runs.
I've had runs where I have had to fight my legs, my lungs, my brain.
I've had runs I've struggled through.
But this run was more than all of that.
I can't pinpoint any one reason why.
Chinese for dinner the night before?
The daunting 15 miles I needed to run?
Not enough pre-run fuel?
Friday late morning/afternoon instead of Saturday early morning?
All I know is it was THE terrible, horrible, no good, very bad run...that I don't ever hope to top!!
And this run was characterized by the very essence of life...water.
Water can be peaceful...
I was feeling anxious about the 15 miles ahead of me before I ever started running. I spent a few minutes by the pond at the park before I started running and finally found enough peace to put one foot in front of the other and get started.
Water can be cooling...
Raindrops began to fall about a mile into my run. The cold drops falling on my skin felt good. It make me laugh. It briefly made me consider turning around and heading back to my car after the storm I got caught in on Tuesday evening! Fortunately, this was just a little passing shower.
Water can be refreshing...
My long run route is carefully planned so that there are sources of water along the way where I can refill my water bottle.
My first refill...really just topping off...was at almost three miles...at a place that is full of memories for me. I spent four years here, and it is the reason I am still in Charlotte. Even after moving to Nashville for grad school, I moved back to Charlotte as soon as I was finished. So much has changed on the campus since I graduated almost 25 years ago, but the memories remain! Friends, professors, classes, roommates, January terms, a summer term, Hurricane Hugo, late nights, study sessions, student teaching...a lot is packed into those four years of memories!
Another water fountain along my way...about 7.25 miles into my run...there is a water fountain that sits in front of Christ Church on Providence Road...with Matthew 11:28 inscribed on a plaque near by...Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
At this point, I was really struggling to keep running more than walking. I was weary. I needed rest. I refilled my water bottle, told myself to "suck it up," and plodded on...remembering so many people from my many years at Christ Church...youth group, EFM, the small Tuesday evening Eucharist I used to attend, friends, my Charlotte "family"...those memories flooded my mind as I pushed myself forward.
As are sweat and tears...
By 8.5 miles, the phrase "everything hurts and I'm dying" seemed to apply to this long run, which by this point had turned into a long walk. I sat down on the wall next to this water fountain.
Water, in the form of tears, streamed from my eyes.
I was miserable.
I was ready to quit.
I texted Brian and told him "There's no run left..."
I ate some fruit snacks.
I drank some water.
I asked Brain to meet me at the park and join me for my last few miles.
I refilled my water bottle once more and trudged off...I'm pretty sure a turtle would have been faster than me at that point!
Three miles later, I made it back to the park to this smiling face, my husband, my hero!
Which I immediately stuffed down the front of my shirt...
And he brought COLD water!
Which I drank...
And he brought his support and encouragement and willingness to go those last miles with me.
They weren't pretty miles.
In fact, they were pretty ugly miles.
They weren't fast miles.
In fact, they were pretty slow miles.
And in the end, they were painful miles.
But the miles were done.
Water can be painful...
in the form of the blisters that covered my feet... (Note to self...we need new running socks!)
And when it hits those small spots of chaffing that occur when you least expect it!
And now, a day after that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad run, I'm letting it go...
...like water that runs off a duck's back.