I've talked about this before, but I have a tumultuous relationship with running. It's not like any of the other relationship with any of the other hobbies and activities in my life. I play guitar, for instance. I don't hate myself when I play, and the guitar doesn't hate me -- I'm just mediocre at it. Both of us are OK with that. I like to take pictures. Sometimes they're nice, sometimes not, but I've taken thousands of pictures in my life and I'll continue to do it either way. They're the kind of relationships that are adult, mature, mutually comforting. Sometimes we hit snags, but we talk out our shit and process it, work toward improvement so we can continue the relationship until we're old. I'm not a complicated person.
Running with me is like those goddam dramatic quarter-life crisis relationships you see on TV. One little thing happens and voices are raised, and we turn shallow and immature. "What do you mean, I can't hit my target pace? What are you trying to say?" Or: "It's raining out? I'm supposed to be out there an hour and a half! You think I appreciate that?" Or: "I've been doing this for years! Why haven't I gotten better? It's because you think I'm fat, isn't it? Say it!" I log a bad run and I say, "You know what? Screw this -- we're done." Then I storm out of the house.
It isn't always negative. When I run and it goes well, I'm excited -- it's all I want to do. I sign up for races and I log on to Twitter and try to cheer on my friends. It goes badly and I think I've been a clown. Sometimes the difference between those extremes is a matter of 5 minutes of overall time or less.
Long story short, on Thursday I tried to run a 7-mile interval run. I was lashed by a pouring rainstorm and heavy wind. It was pitch dark when I left and I stumbled into ankle-deep puddles in the broken sidewalks and potholed streets you find everywhere in Fall River. I stopped frequently to walk, catch my breath, and gnash my teeth in frustration. I asked aloud -- there was nobody around to hear me, because as I said, the weather was shit -- who the hell in their right mind goes outside to run 7 miles in a rainstorm, and why I was continuing to put myself through this kind of nonsense when running is supposed to be an enjoyable activity. I was soaked to the bone. My feet audibly squished with every step. About 2 miles in, I had to stop and hitch up my running pants because the bottoms were so soaked with rainwater that they began to sag into dangerous territory. I asked, "Who am I putting myself through this for, because it sure as hell isn't me?" So I ran home after less than 3 miles and was a miserable bastard for a while.
Friday, under better emotional and meteorological circumstances, I ran 7 miles and I felt much better. I ran through some wet snowfall, but I didn't get as soaked and it was actually sort of nice. I didn't hit my targets, either (it was supposed to be a relatively fast interval run), but I'm fine with it. I got a painful worn-out spot on the back of my right heel, but I ran through it and put a Band-Aid on it. So we've made up.