I got the song “Hurt So Good” stuck in my head yesterday but with different lyrics. It was funny how it happened. I was planning on doing a run all day long and I kept putting it off. It wasn’t because I wasn’t excited to run, I actually had been looking forward to it all day. But it was so hot and humid here in Chicago. So I was tempted to wait and do a shady evening run after dinner. It was only after I started walking to the grocery store that I noticed some pretty nasty storm clouds heading our way that I figured it was now or never.
So I turned around, dropped my grocery bags, and traded them in for my Spi-belt and some headphones. Knowing that it was 86ºF and super humid, I had already had a talk with myself and knew that it was going to be a slow sweaty run. I was okay with that.
As I started running I had just a tiny bit of pain and just the slightest tension in my Achilles, but compared to the past few weeks, it wasn’t a big deal. I realized then that nothing feels quite as awesome as coming back to running after an injury. It just feels so good and so exciting. The only other thing I could think of at the time that made running feel quite so great is when you first take up running and those first five pounds melt off of you. On a side note, I think that is a sick trick your body plays on you making you think it will always be like that.
It was a funny feeling because it wasn’t an easy run but in some ways it really was. I had been yearning for a nice longish run for awhile and feeling healthy again made me so excited to be out there. At the same time, it was so hot and humid and it was much more difficult than my normal run. My miles were much slower than what I would consider my normal pace.
Honestly, that humidity made the run “suck” a bit. And it reminded me of a post I did months ago when someone asked me when running stops “sucking.” The verdict was that it doesn’t always suck. At times it doesn’t at all, and at other times it sucks a whole lot less or in a much different way. But there is always an element of suck just hiding in the corner of any given run. To be perfectly honest, I think any runner who sticks with it learns to embrace that and make it work for them. Heat and humidity, as we know, are reasons to at times not really love running.
But that feeling of glee was still there as I ran and as I dealt with the weather conditions, I realized that it just sucked so good. That was it. It was hard, but in a way that runners learn to deal with and at times enjoy. I knew it was going to be hard but I also knew that I had missed that feeling.
A few weeks ago I read a Runner’s World article where the writer discussed being injured and how awful it feels to be away from running. He discussed how you never truly feel hungry like you do when you run and you never get a “true” shower where you step in so dirty and come out completely refreshed. As I ran in those weather conditions yesterday I was soaked in my own sweat. I’m sure most people would look at me and consider me to be absolutely disgusting. But I looked down and grinned from ear to ear. I couldn’t remember the last time I had sweated that hard. It felt awesome. I felt like my body was purging itself of a month and a half’s worth of injury and frustration and anger.
That is what I think it means to “suck so good.”