a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad run.

[166 days left to go] Well, I finally got what I’ve been waiting for. It wasn’t a raise, a belated gift, a long-awaited phone call. No, none of these things. It was what all honey-mooning new runners wait anxiously for: the first terrifyingly painful, how-will-I-ever-finish-this run. To set the scene:

Boston had just declared its boil water order for the entire city and upwards of 29 surrounding towns. I had one small Poland Spring bottle of water sitting in my fridge, and I decided to cut my water intake for the day to try to conserve what little we had. At 7:00pm (thinking that the 83 degree weather had finally cooled from the afternoon) I decided that it would be the perfect time, nay – the perfect scenario, for an 8-mile run outdoors. When I started running I felt sluggish and hot, sweating profusely in the near 60% humidity, but I figured I would be able to power through, as I have done on previous runs.

After about mile 2, The Man and I are running through Harvard Square when we realize that there is no WAY that it is only 2 miles from the South End to Harvard. I realize then that at some point earlier in the run I had accidently switched off the timer on my watch, and it was no longer recording our actual mileage. *Expletive.*

At this point in the run I went through the five phases of grief:

  1. Denial: “I’ll be fine! It’s only 6 more miles, and I don’t really feel anything yet.” (Lie #1)
  2. Anger: “WHY AM I DOING THIS??”
  3. Bargaining: “If I run one more mile I’ll be able to get rid of this crippling cramp under my ribcage.” (Lie #2)
  4. Depression: “I am going to have to jump off the Harvard bridge to get home. It’s just not going to happen any other way.” (thankfully, Lie #3)
  5. Acceptance: “This is horrible, but I will live. I suppose.”

I finally make it home, feet dragging, and I feel like utter death. I’m starved, overheating, dehydrated, and have only one bottle of clean water to share with The Man. Mind you, every store near us had been sold out of bottled water for the past 24 hours. Lucky for me The Man is a gentleman and let me have the much-needed agua. After about 20 minutes of stretching and trying to cool down I realize that my stomach is cramping, I’m nauseated, I have a dizzying headache and all of this is getting worse, not better. The ever-trusty WebMD tells me that I have heat exhaustion, and thus ends the most painful run I have ever experienced. To make matters more exceptional, when we got home we decided to use Map My Run to find out what our actual mileage was… and lo, we ran 9 instead of 8 miles.

I’m glad that my terrible run has finally come. It’s delusional to think that every run when training for your first marathon will be perfect and effortless, giving you just the right amount of burn to make you want to keep going. I’m sure there are more terribles runs in my future, but for now, this one is enough.


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3 responses to “a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad run.

  1. Kim


    Kate Dilley told me about your blog and your goal to run a marathon in October. It sounds like you’re off to an early rip roaring start to training! The next few months will be hard, but you will learn more about yourself and the limits of your body, and the power of your mind to help you overcome any obstacles. Be sure to lean on the blogging and twitter community of runners for encouragement and advice, there are SO many experienced people that have helped me along my own marathon journeys! One big piece of advice that I have is to try to incorporate yoga at least once a week, nothing too crazy, but it helps counter all of the stress and impact you’re putting your body through with running. Best of luck, I’m looking forward to following your training and eventual race in October!



    • Hi Kim! Thank you for all of the great advice – I definitely will look for weekly yoga opportunities to supplement the training, and I love a good running blog (I have a healthy handful bookmarked now, and I can’t get enough of them). You have a fantastic running blog (which Kate showed me as well) and I look forward to following and learning from your running experiences!


  2. Dita

    Hi! Thanks for posting your experiences – AWESOME! As for your first crappy run, I’m seriously in awe that you are doing this AT ALL! Even on your worst run, you managed to run 9 miles. THAT’S NINE WHOLE MILES! Rock on. 🙂

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