For all of the gushing I do about the awesomeness of running, there are times in which I'd rather gouge out my right kidney with a spork rather than run one more stinking step.
This past Sunday was one of those times.
Like the uber-dedicated running chicks we are, Donna and I decided to meet up at 7am at Champoeg State Park. Being Superbowl Sunday and considering the fact that Donna had plans to meet up with some friends around 11, this would still allow us the time to run and then go out for a quick bite and a coffee afterwards.
My first huge mistake of the day was the extremely ill-conceived idea that I needed to wear a long sleeved shirt. It is already a well-established fact that when I run for any length of time beyond about three minutes, I start generating enough heat to sufficiently power a Dutch oven in the middle of an Antarctic snowstorm. When I left my house it was 44 degrees outside, and while in "running mode," this is practically springtime-balmy in my book. Seriously.
My second huge mistake was actually committed the day before. Saturday's weather was dry and even though I wasn't really in the mood, I decided to act on the favorable conditions by heading out for a moderate 5.2 mile run that afternoon. It turned out to be fantastic - I felt great, ran well and chalked it up to one of those "gee-I'm-glad-I-went-out-and-did-it" sort of runs. However, I suspect it also created a too-sharp uptick in total mileage over a relatively short amount of time (given my level of training) as we did a total of 6 miles on Sunday.
The third huge mistake was simply the fact that I was completely unfamiliar with the route we took. What I didn't realize is that at one end of the park, the path gets a bit hilly; naturally, this was the direction in which we headed and by the time I realized what we were up against, we'd already committed to the route and I was too embarrased to ask Donna if we could turn around. You see, I have an interesting relationship with hills - it's complex yet simple and quite old-fashioned, sort of like we're still in the dating phase. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they're mostly blind dates. I avoid them pretty much at all costs and when that is impossible, I tend to be very skeptical (and usually, rightly so) about the outcome.
So, given these three tactical errors, the whole affair became my personal "perfect storm" of running, but to anyone else, it must have looked ideal. I mean, honestly, now - here I was running through one of the most gorgeous wooded parks in the entire Portland metro area, on a nice smooth bike path with absolutely no car traffic anywhere. It was a beautiful, crisp morning complete with birds singing and Canadian geese honking overhead, and I even had a friend to chatter with - and it was one of the most miserable runs I've ever suffered through. I was raging hot a mere ten minutes in, my legs were totally shot and the hills, they kicked my ass and handed it to me on a silver platter with a sprig of parsley. It took every single ounce of my will and determination to keep dragging one sorry foot out in front of the other as I silently and sincerely prayed that I wouldn't end up keeling over.
Six miles later, when Donna mercifully called it good, everything hurt and I could have boiled a pot of oatmeal anywhere on my body. To top it all off, I had gone through all of my water and as was clearly par for the entire effing course, hadn't stashed a post-run bottle in the car as I normally do. This just goes to show that when you are obviously going to screw up, you may as well go all the way!
Oh well. I know you can't win 'em all, but I sure as hell could go for a long, long time without having to drag my poor pathetic self through another run like this one. You know what they say - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - especially if you're wearing a long-sleeved shirt at the time.