An Exercise in Character Building

Today’s long run was a toughie. I felt “off” from the get-go. I’m fighting off a cold, got terrible sleep last night, and am still a little sore from yesterday’s yoga-pilates class as well as last Sunday’s 5K, something I jumped into with literally 5 minutes to spare before the gun went off….wah wah wah.

The worst part about this morning though, which I realize will sound ridiculous, was that I couldn’t find my iPod–one of my favorite gadgets when I’m out on the road for a couple hours. I tore the house apart for a good 20 minutes before I finally gave up and kicked my butt out the door sans music before I lost motivation. Grumpy doesn’t even begin to describe my mood.

As I parked my car on this cool, gray day, I told myself that 13 miles could either be great or suck, depending on what I made of it.

“Listen up creaky body, just take one step and one mile at a time. You can do this! No whining. Just freaking get it done!”

And so it went…from Hendry’s Beach up the steep hill on Cliff Drive, then into the Douglas Preserve and around the Mesa. I won’t lie, it was not a magical run by any stretch of the imagination, BUT I did get it done.


The view from the Douglas Preserve with Hendry’s Beach below.


The best part? Because I didn’t have my iPod to distract me, my mind was clear to think. It pondered several things that have been jumbled in my head in the midst of my busy life. And the funny thing is that after about 4 miles, I suddenly remembered where I put my iPod–in one of the back-up shoes I had taken to the track last week. No wonder I couldn’t find it!

Another thing I noticed on my run today...a fun homage to the sport so many people love around here.

Another thing I noticed on my run today…a fun homage to the sport so many people love around here.

Without my iPod I also noticed my senses were more in tune with the environment around me. I paid attention to the smell of eucalyptus trees, to the waves crashing below, to the symphony of birds and the slew of dogs romping. I also looked up more often because I wasn’t in a musical trance. I noticed fellow runners like Kevin Young, and a boatload of friends and couples strolling through the preserve, greeting me with smiles as I did multiple loops on the trails.

This run will definitely not go down in history as one of my favorites, but it will go into my “Character Building” foundation, something we all need as runners. You know what I mean. Haven’t we all had challenging runs or races–where everything seemed to be working against us, be it weather, our busy schedules, work or family responsibilities, travel delays, injuries…the list goes on.

Having a challenging training day only makes us better prepared to handle tough race days.

Now that I’ve marked this run off my calendar, stretched, foam rolled (big time), had hot soup and a hot shower, I can say, “Thank you Running Gods for sending me this toughie. It has added a spoonful of grit to my character, and hopefully all those little spoonfuls will eventually add up to being unstoppable.

So tell me, how is your week going? Are you having good runs? I’d love to hear how your training is going! Drop me a comment….

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