Last week I did one last final long(ish) run in Florida before we headed back north. I started out feeling great. I thought this was going to be the one where I took on the world. Four miles into my 10 planned miles, I knew it was going to be another struggle.
I spent the past few weeks really looking forward to my time in warm weather. However, like clockwork, anytime my husband has to go away for work in the winter, we get hit with illness and a storm. We got nailed with two of each! With two sick kids and a driveway full of snow, I opted to shovel while they napped. Unfortunately, the snow banks got so high that I had to kick the shovel up over the drifts to make any progress. All of this culminated in a doozy of a tight glute/hamstring.
My first few runs in Florida were frustratingly slow, not only due to the heat, but also because my right leg literally dragged on the ground with each stride. My shoe was even worn down on the heel! By the end of the trip I had stretched and worked the muscles out enough that most of my runs were endurable, but they still tightened up as my miles progressed.
On that last run, I was nearing the end when I saw a stop light up ahead. In the past, I would normally plead with the light to stay green so I could keep going and maintain my pace. This one was a little different. I actually spent a quarter of a mile watching the light change, trying to figure out if I would be lucky enough to get the red light.
I laughed at my whiney, miserable self. Look at me here, begging my muscles to pound out a few more miles, pleading my sweaty self to go just a little further. At the same time, I was hoping fate would force me into a break.
This made me think of marathons where courses run across train tracks. There have been instances where runners have been forced to stop to allow a train to cross. We have all heard of the runners who were on par for a PR or a BQ who were forced to stop and were furious with the race and their results. But I had to question, how many runners secretly thought, “Thank goodness. I’ve been dying for an excuse to stop!” Then they can also later say they ran a X:XX marathon, but that would have been much faster had they not been forced to stop for a train crossing.
Those stop lights can be a funny thing. You can use them to your advantage, regardless of whether you want to keep going or you need an excuse to stop. I have a new appreciation for those annoying red lights. At least for now.
Red lights- nay or yay? I’d love to hear your thoughts.