Hump Day Giveaway: Tough Running Moments

Running stories are like best friends and peanut M'nM's: I never get sick of them.

The Zooma 10k, half-marathon and half-marathon relay in Colorado Springs on Saturday was tough, no matter how you looked at it. Temperature: hot enough that the race organizers moved the start time up an hour. Hilly: the 10k and first part of the half-marathon course was two loops, which had a killer hill you had to conquer twice in it. And that incline was cake compared to the second 6.9 miles of the longer race. Energy: the fact that there were mobs of girlfriends there--who were clearly making a (much needed) weekend out of it--meant that maybe Friday night was a little later and probably a little more wine-heavy than one would want, pre-race.

I gotta admit, I was happy to have a few legit reasons (injury, new form, not trained enough) to fall back on to explain why I wasn't out there.

But then I saw the smiles and stories and satisfaction after the race, and I wished I could've taken on the 10k and hightailed it back to the RLAM table. That feeling of busting through a challenge, of having your spirit soar after it's been dragging is so fulfilling, the rush carries you through at least the day--if not a couple of 'em.

For today's giveaway, we want to know: what was a recent tough running moment? And how did you conquer it? Any challenge is game, from motivation to leg cramps to a dead iPod battery. Be sure to tell us how you got through it: toughed it out, smiled through it, walked, skipped the run, whatever. We've had a bunch of inquiries from beginning runners on how to get through the rough patches, so any insight into how you get to that place where you're looking behind at--not staring directly into--a hill or a tough workout would be helpful.

For your honesty and advice, a random winner will take home a pair of cushy, supportive Spenco Sandals, a pair of flips made by the insole maker, so you know they're square on arch support and comfort. (Note: the link only goes to the black men's ones, but they also have a pink model for women.) They're the kind of shoes you want to slip on after a challenging run to thank your feet for getting it done. (And to match the pink, we'll throw in a cute, pink, technical Zooma tee.)

We're all ears: give us a tough time you've had running recently--and let us know how you came out on the other side.

117 responses to “Hump Day Giveaway: Tough Running Moments

  1. My difficult running moments occurred during the Annapolis Zooma race. First, the night before the race a kind lady asked me how many halfs I had done. When I told her this was my first one she said “You picked a heck of a one for your first!” which just increased my anxiety level. Second, I live in a very FLAT area with basically no hills. Annapolis is a much hillier area, so I had to deal with something I hadn’t trained for at all. Finally, I have always run with music…it keeps me going. After about 3 miles my mp3 player died on me, so I had to find other ways to occupy my mind – one of my strategies was to count the people who passed me and who I passed…I tried to keep the first number smaller than the second one! πŸ™‚

  2. This Zooma half was my first race and I started running only about 10 weeks before the race. For someone who had never run 3 times at a time, the mental aspect was almost more challenging than the physical during training. I found a fantastic training schedule and really stuck to it. About 10 days before the race I sprained my ankle during a training run and was not able to run at all until the race day. Taking that much time off before the race made the race day even more that difficult for me. All I could think about was how hard I had trained prior to hurting my ankle and what a waste it would be for me not to finish the race. I did not get the time I had hoped for, but I was proud of myself for pushing on to do something I’d never done before and to simply finish.

  3. My toughest running moment without question was my first run after knee surgery. I cried on my way to the track because I was scared. Scared of it hurting, scared of not being able to run, scared of feeling like a loser. Mile 1 hurt bad. I cried again because it hurt. Mile 2 hurt less. I cried again because it hurt less! Mile 3 hurt even less. I smiled all the way home.
    I can’t explain how letting go of what you could once do is really tough. But I’m back training now for my 3rd 1/2 in the fall. I’m getting it back…it’s taking some time…but I’m gonna do it! πŸ™‚

  4. Like many runners this summer, the heat and humidity are kicking my butt! My friends and I mostly run in the evening, preferably after dark. It is definitely hot, but I can handle it at night. Because I have planned for a year to run a local 6 mile race in August, every Wednesday night my running partner and I run the course, which includes a nasty mile-long hill. We are not fast, but we run it in under an hour most of the time. On the weekends I try to run in the morning just because it works about better. My morning runs have been terrible! I go early, but I just can’t get going. This past Sunday morning I went out with a positive attitude, intending to run at least 6 miles, more if possible. I had even dreamed about running the night before, so I was raring to go! It was already hot, and after 3 miles I had to walk a few blocks. Ugh! When I did run, it was not at my normal 9:30-10:00 longer run pace – I ran as slow as 11:00-11:30! I felt like I was giving every ounce of energy, but my body refused to move. I took several walk breaks, and decided (during one of those breaks) that I would not be able to run the 6-mile race unless there was some fluke and we had a cool front that weekend. I have struggled with the decision since that time. I told my husband that I did not want to enter if I couldn’t run the whole race because I would just be in a foul mood the rest of the day (my class reunion is that night – can’t be in a bad mood for that!). I can run the route – in the evening! I am not certain if my muscles just aren’t ‘awake’ enough in the morning, if I am not hydrated enough after sleeping all night, or what is going on. I have been totally frustrated.

    So what did I do to get over that dreadful meeting with the pavement? I went out and ran again that night! I ran 4 miles that night with my friend, and ran it at an acceptable pace. I just had to prove to myself that I could run. Last night I did intervals, and felt great when I finished. I still haven’t decided whether to enter the 6-mile race. It might just depend upon the temp that morning. I will, however, continue to train. I realize that we all have bad runs – I just don’t want mine to show up on race day!

  5. My toughest run was my very first 26.2 at the Disney World Marathon this past January. First of all, it was 25 degrees with flurries…was not exactly the Florida race I had expected! I had completed several half marathons and knew getting past mile 13 would be possible. However, my training for the marathon had been lacking due to being recently divorced with a preschooler and a first grader. I sailed through the first 13 miles at my normal half marathon pace and was having the time of my life, when around mile 14 my left foot started to hurt. And it ended hurting so badly that i could barely put pressure on it. I have had problems with this foot on and off during my running career. The pain got so bad that it brought tears to my eyes at mile 20. I did not know how I was going to finish. My main goal for this race was to finish without walking…I started to walk shortly after mile 20. I walked on and off for about 5 minutes and then the amazing mental strength you develop as a runner kicked in. I started to imagine myself crossing the finish line as I had done many times during my training runs. I thought about that feeling. I realized that the faster I completed the race, the faster I would be finished with the pain. The foot hurt just as badly walking as it did running, so I kept on moving. I had always asked myself during races “do you have any more to give?” and my answer is always yes. I crossed that finish line, with a high five to Minnie Mouse, tears in my eyes, and that amazing high we experience. I knew I had given everything and I was completely satisfied that I had pushed myself to my limits and had nothing left at the end of that race. (which was very satisfying since I usually feel a little sense of “I could have pushed a little harder” after the half marathons I have c0mpleted. I couldn’t walk on my foot for 3 weeks after that….but I am running again and planning on doing the Goofy Challenge at Disney next January!

  6. My toughest run was my first ever 1/2 marathon, Zooma Colorado Springs. I wasn’t expecting those hills at all and the heat! I usually run in 40-45 degrees. So 85 degrees was such a challenge! I have never walked on a run before but after the first three hills I decided to walk up and run down. Not finishing was not an option, I knew I had so many people proud of me for doing the race after running for two months. I wanted to make myself proud too and crossing the finish line was unexpectedly emotional. I finished 5 minutes slower than my goal and are ready to do better in my next 1/2 in two weeks. Making a compromise to reach the finish line was so worth it.

  7. Sadly, my toughest run was 3 days ago and I’m still hurting! I went out to do my 11 mile training run for my October marathon. No worries on the 11 miles, but the trouble came in the form of Mother Nature! It was a heat index of 93 at 7:15 am so I knew I was in for trouble. I was a sweaty, filthy and emotional mess after that run. I’m chalking it up as just one of the bad ones and moving on this week to better weather and better running!

  8. I am currently training for a half-marathon with Team in Training which means I am also fundraising. Of course, I have to take on two challenging things while mothering a three year old and to top it off, I have a hip injury. I have been resting my hip and not training hard has been excruciating but I know that resting now will enable me to complete the half-marathon in October. Last week I ran (mostly) 11 miles in total and for the first time in months my hip fel pretty good – not great but good.

    My biggest feat was not pushing myself to complete a big hill by running and deciding to stop and walk for a number of reasons, including the crazy heat and humidity and not wanting to injury myself.

    It has been challenging to ease back into running but I have a large goal in mind and in order to complete it I am making wise decisions about length and intensity of my workouts.

  9. Can I claim that my toughest running moment is every morning at 4:25am? That’s when my alarm goes off to wake me up so I have enough time to get my rear out the door and get the miles in before my husband has to leave for work and I am in charge of our twin toddlers. Battling with the negative voices in my head is the hardest part for me. The voices telling me that I would be much happier sleeping an extra 1.5 hrs than running when the sun isn’t up yet. But I have yet to regret a run. I (usually) DO regret when I obey them and don’t go for that run.

  10. I started back to school and have found that study time tends to kick running right off the schedule. Not ideal for weight loss. Instead of being irritated at lost running time, I set a goal of running 3 times a week instead of 5 like I used to and I don’t go as far, but try to push myself harder for the short run.

  11. toughest running moment…I have had many…probably one of my first 1/2 marathons and the water stations ran out of water! It was horrible and I was upset…sort of hyperventilating! I got it together and took some deep breaths…I made it in the end!

  12. For me, the toughest runs have always been the first real runs after having my babies. Last year after my 3rd daughter was born I could barely even run 1 mile. I just wanted to cry because I felt so out of shape with way too many jiggly parts! But I kept at it and am now training for my 2nd marathon this fall! It’s so amazing to me what our bodies can do.

  13. The motivation to get out to run today was pretty tough. It was my first day back to work after my 12 week maternity leave. I woke up early to make sure I had some quality time with the little guy before I had to go into the office. Worked all day, came home, hung out with the kids a bit, made some dinner, cleaned up, gave my 12 week old a bath and put him down to bed. I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was get myself dressed to go for a run at 8:15 at night. But I did it – I have about 7 pounds to get to my pre-preggers weight and the brownie sundaes they had at work today aren’t going to help me lose it. So I ran – and it ended up feeling good despite not wanting to get out there to do it!!

  14. Worst running day… trail running with my trusty pooch on a not-so-trusty electric collar in the 10,000 acre Joseph Grant state park in San Jose. 4 miles from my car at dusk when some wild boar piglets cross the trail, and the dog is off. She followed the piglets straight into the pack of adults settling down for the night, and I could only hear the sounds as she fought with them, impervious to the electric collar or my calls. Faced with going off trail alone, close to dark in a huge park with a handful of mountain lions, a few dozen wolves, and many more coyote, I was forced to run home alone, scared. Went back that night, and again the next morning.. thought the search was futile, and just when we were giving up and about to go home, discovered that the dog had found our car and was waiting for us in the parking lot. A few tusk wounds and a missing tooth later, she has a lot more respect for wild boar. Happy ending, scary story, no more off-leash trail running with the pooch!

  15. Had a massively bad running moment the other day when my hip decided to blow up half way into a 10km training run. Conviniently enough, it happened just outside a nice pub by the side of the canal i was running by and so I drowned my sorrows as I waited for help to arrive in the form of my sister in her Nissan!

  16. I’m mid-way through training for my first half this fall…and it seems like every other week I’m ready to quit. I’m LOVING it…but some mornings I wake up and wonder what I’m doing? I have no reason to question myself (no injuries or anything, thank goodness) but it just seems ridiculous that I have taken this task up. The thing that gets me through it all is knowing that I’ve told the world about my desire to run the half…and I really do want to accomplish it. And a great long run every once in a while that gives me that elusive runner’s high doesn’t hurt either! πŸ™‚

  17. I wish I could say I have been training for any particular event, and I wish I could say anything at all about miles… but my hard running moment doesn’t have that kind of cred. My hard moment is still coming every morning as I walk out the door and have to tell myself I can do this. Not sure my body believes me yet.

  18. I am trainig for my first race–1/2 marathon. I had been running on and off over the winter in preparation for a mini-tri. 6 weeks before the tri I was on vacation and fractured my tailbone riding a water slide with my kids. They got a kick out of the fact I “broke my butt”. Had to put training on hold. Started running again and decided to train for a half marathon locally with my gal pals. Developed an Achilles strain and had to scale back. Now running again, but the heat and humidity of summer are killing me. Ran 4 miles yesterday in 85 degree heat and 93% humidity! It was slow and pretty ugly, but I DID NOT STOP! I felt like I was running in pea soup but I ran!!! I keep telling myself it is one more step until I finish!

  19. My husband is in Afghanistan for the next year. I am tranning for a half in October. All my runs are on the treadmill at the gym with free child care. I made a playlist on my iphone with all the songs my husband loves. It helps me get thru all the long boring miles on the treadmill.

    1. Thank you Chelsie! Military spouses make major sacrifices for our country, too! Don’t know where you are stationed, but if you happen to be in the Florida Panhandle, I would gladly watch your kids every once in awhile so you can get in a long run outside. For free, of course. I’m sure there are other moms who would help, if that’s something you’d like.

  20. I ran my 4th half marathon this past Memorial Day – Boston’s Run to Remember. I was very excited about it, had done every single one of my training runs, and was seeing my times get faster. I was hoping for a PR (I did 2:18 and change at the Philly Half in 2006) and really thought that I would get it. Until race morning – it was already almost 80 degrees and muggy before we even started. The first 4 miles were T-O-U-G-H. I had a horrible attitude and each step just felt heavy and labored. But then I said to myself, there is no way that I’m not finishing, so I better just suck it up and keep running, because there is nothing that I can do to change the weather. Once I got past that point, the rest of the race was great (I finished around 2:35)! It’s amazing the power of a positive attitude πŸ™‚

  21. Last week I was scheduled to do a 10M run. It was pretty hot out, but I knew I needed to get the run done and that it would be good hot weather training for my HIM. I decided to do an out and back course with a little loop thrown in the middle. I was feeling pretty good until around 4.5 miles into my run. I ate a Gu thinking it would give me the boost I needed, but it didn’t work. Shortly after I started cramping really bad. It hurt so bad to run, but I kept going. Then my back started getting little cramps. Ugh! At this point I knew there was no way I was going to be able to run the full 10M. I kept thinking about how I might have to run in these same conditions for my HIM, and again, doubt crept into my head about whether or not I’m going to be ready.

    I got back to the park where I had done a loop and just decided to head back home which was about 2 miles away. I came to a hill and walked up it. I rarely walk when I’m out for a run, but my body was really shutting down. I kept burping and feeling like I was going to puke. It felt like I had a huge ball of something inside my chest right below my sternum. It was gross, but I kept going.

    Around the 6M point, my legs got really heavy and I was having a hard time picking them up. I was a complete mess! I would see a stop light up ahead and pray that it would turn red just so I would have an excuse to stop and take a break. Well, someone must have heard my prayers, because I literally hit every red light on my way back home. I passed some guy going the opposite direction and he said, “You better run faster because there’s a bear chasing you!” Really guy? At the last light, I was getting really light headed and knew I had to get home fast. Now, I know my body well enough that when I get like this, passing out is almost inevitable. I got off the main road, turned onto my street and walked the 2 blocks back to my house. Even when I was walking I was going so slow. I got closer to home and saw my husband open the door to let me in. He saw me and asked if I was alright, then I just laid down in the grass and told him that I just needed some time to rest. He promptly brought me inside where it was cool, handed me an ice pack for my neck, and got me a big glass of ice water to drink. He knew just what I needed and that ice pack felt sooo good! He made sure I was alright, then went downstairs to continue watching the Tour de France time trials…ha ha…gotta love him! πŸ™‚

  22. I hate running first thing in the morning, but when the temperature in the summer is over 90 degress for weeks on end I’m forced to get up early to run. Last week when my alarm clock went off I stayed in bed thinking of all the reasons why I shouldn’t get up. But I knew I was just making excuses and at times like these I try to remind my self that I generally always regret not running but have never regret going for a run. So I got up and ran.

  23. Challenge: 4am Long Runs
    Solution: Give yourself something to focus on something besides the alarm

    How I admire the Gazelle Girls who run lean and fast wearing only shorts and a running bra! No way would I run with my jelly belly exposed.

    Until I was staring down three weeks of 4am long runs.

    I had to be home to my 3 & 6 year old boys before my husband left for work (15 miles by 7am; really? REALLY?!). So I made 4am bearable by daring to run in just my favorite running skirt and exercise bra.

    Running under the stars with the early breeze on my skin – lots of my skin! – I felt powerful and free. And – surprise – I looked forward to the next early run.

    1. I LOVE your idea. How freeing! I too look at young gazelle runners with shorts and jog bras and think “how wonderful to be young and have a lovely flat tummy—not me!!”. Perhaps now I will take the plunge and run without my cover up sometime this summer?!? Thank you!

  24. My husband and I motivate each other through the tough times, but he is definitely the natural athlete and I am the “workhorse” so usually I’m doing the motivating and he’s just good. To us, the parents of three, the hard stuff is just getting time to run. And if we’re training for a race, it’s frustrating to miss a run. It’s most frustrating to me, because I need it to stay sane, but my husband is likely to bag the whole week (or two) if he misses a run. Recently we’ve been repeating to each other, “Running means doing a hard thing when it’s hard.” It’s awkward, but it works.

  25. Recently all my morning runs have been tough because of the heat and extreme humidity here! My hill run on Tuesdays is through a state park and it gets VERY buggy the further I get into the woods. So it is hot, humid, hilly, and I’m being eaten alive…but I have my running buddy and we work through it together and push each other to make it up the hills. Around mile 4 on the way back we hit our biggest hill, it’s straight up and probably 1/4 mile long. I pull my hat brim down so I can’t see more than a few feet in front of me and I try to stay positive, telling myself how strong I will feel when I get to the top and how far I have come with my running. I also repeat positive mantras, my new one is “Run with a heart of bold” from Kara Goucher’s t-shirt design…that one really gets me moving!

  26. Ugh, I had an awful run yesterday. Started feeling out tired five minutes in… instead of finishing, I ended up cutting it short, since I started feeling dizzy. Don’t want to mess with that! I determined that its probably just general dehydration… its been over 90 degrees for weeks in DC! I upped my water intake and will be keeping indoors (on a treadmill) today.

  27. I’m probably too late for the giveaway but still want to join in the camaraderie! My toughest runs have been my most recent. Being 7 months pregnant and recovering from a total thyroidectomy after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer–running has brought the greatest joy AND pain these days. With stitches tightly holding my neck together, a stomach that won’t stop growing and newly holey-stretched out sports bras (due to my swollen chest) killing my drive–it takes all I’ve got to get through 2.5 miles. But–like many of you–I run for those few and far between moments in the toughest runs that leave you feeling like you can do anything set before you that day-week-month-year-life! Many people have told me not to run through my pregnancy–especially with the surgery but I absolutely cannot imagine not running. During a recent run-I caught a glimpse of myself in a car window and was appalled to see my tank top rolling up my stomach like the mouse, Gus-gus on Cinderella, my waddling pace embarrassingly slow and my legs looking like stuffed sausages in my running shorts. Instead of being discouraged and quitting I decided to laugh it off, crank up my music and go an extra loop around the block-extra slow for those extra endorphins that day.

  28. I’m having a rough time now wanting to run 20 min in one go but not being able to. I’ve run 22 min in total but divided into smaller batches between 12 and 1 min. It’s so frustrating though. But I’ll get there eventually. I just gotta be patient and not give up. πŸ™‚

  29. The toughest time I’ve had with running lately has been NOT running! I’m currently nearing the end of a three-month hiatus due to a stress fracture in my hip I got from running. I found out the results of my MRI on Mother’s Day weekend (what a lousy gift!) and instantly started crying!

    How have I gotten through? I had to first tell myself that I was extremely lucky to have found out before my hip was actually broken. I was also lucky because I was allowed to ride a stationary bike and swim (both of which I did in an effort to save some cardiovascular strength and keep the “crazies” at bay…). I’ve also used my stationary bike time to do plenty of reading about running (“Run Like a Mother,” “Born to Run,” Runner’s World, Running Times, Trailrunner) and have learned quite a lot!

    Not running has also made me appreciate running more. Perhaps when I return to the road and trails, I won’t be as concerned with the precise number of minutes I’ve run or the exact distance I’ve traveled, but instead focus on the freedom, strength and euphoria I feel when I run (okay … probably not, but I WILL be thankful that I CAN run instead of complaining that I “have” to run!)

    Yes, it has been a long three months and tomorrow is my follow-up orthopedic appointment to see if I’ve healed. Wish me luck because even though I’ve learned alot and have appreciated the (forced) opportunity to cross-train, I’m ready to get out there again and Run Like A Mother!!!!!!

  30. My toughest running moment was the Excelsior Firecracker run 2010. 4th of July. Landed from Amsterdam on the 3rd of July. Amsterdam is not hot and not nearly as humid. Could not breathe and went WAY too fast with my twin. Oh ya, I wanted to keep up with her. She, who has bested my times in all of our races this year (1/2, 10k, 10 mile- you name it). I just wanted to keep up with her! We ran our first mile in 7 minutes. Ouch. Not good. Our goal was to beat our time last year and we had both had improved our times all year…. I think I finished in just under 48. So what kept me going? Pride, competitiveness, will to finish and be done, kids watching at the finish? Not sure- but it was the worst race of my life and she beat me. Not the worst so much b/c she beat me but that I thought I was prepared (and I probably was) but that the elements also beat me. Oh, and the icing on the cake was that my chip didn’t register so I never actually ran the race. Good or bad thing?

  31. My toughest in a long time was two days ago. I went out for a normal morning run, and after having an awesome run the morning before, I set out thinking that day would be great too. Well, I must’ve run too good the day before because my tired legs weren’t cooperative from the beginning. I also had TONS weighing on my mind, a close friend dealing with cancer, another friend had just lost her husband in a car accident, planning a wedding shower for my sister-in-law, and job searching, all seemed to make me even heavier and more sluggish that morning. I ended up walking (quite a bit) but tried to remember that at least I’d gotten up and run SOME even though it wasn’t all that I had intended it be. Better luck tomorrow!

  32. Anytime I am struggling, I think of the show I Shouldn’t Be Alive. There is one episode especially that helps me: a woman who was out on a trail run slipped off the edge and fell. She broke her pelvis, the temperature dropped, she was in a canyon, and she army-crawled back to her car. I think it took her a day and a half or something crazy like that! I tell myself: if she could crawl that far, I can finish this run. It works every time!!!!

  33. I just ran the Missoula Marathon. I had a hip injury, so I probably should not have run, but I did anyway. It was a TOUGH race for me. It was my 5th marathon and I got my worst time, but I felt like it was probably my biggest accomplishment. I wanted to quit at mile 10, but I refused to let myself.

  34. When I was in my twenties, living in Manhattan just a block from Central Park, I ran a race nearly every weekend. With countless 10ks and two marathons under my belt, I was in the best shape of my life. Fast forward to now, 20 years later, and I’m just proud that I’ve been running consistently for the last 10 weeks. Three weeks ago I tackled my first 10k in more than a decade. Long story short, it was too soon. I hadn’t trained enough, it was a very hot day… I was miserable. More importantly, the days and weeks sense have had me fighting to get back to the momentum I had before the race. My body was too fatigued and mentally I was let down. What had been predictable, steady 4 mile runs before the race were now 2 mile runs where I struggled to keep from walking. I’m feeling so proud of myself for getting out there every morning, even (especially!) through this rougher patch. To be honest, to get through it I just let myself off the hook. If I didn’t make it 4 miles, so what? If I walked a stretch, big deal. I’m still out there, and I’m still proud of myself. And this morning I did 4 miles and felt great afterward.

  35. There are so many!! Toughest ever was mile 68 aid station of my first and only 100 miler. I had gone a really long way , with the sore feet to prove it, and still had a really long way to go. I had a friend pacing me who forced me to keep going and I finished, but I was not loving every minute.

    Most recent moment would be doing my hill repeat day on 45 minutes of sleep after being up all night with a baby with croup. Suddenly that 100 miler run seemed easy….

  36. All of my tough running moments have to do with the change in temperatures – from cold to hot. My worst time was running a half-marathon in Miami, Florida in the beginning of January (about 18 years ago). I was coming from Toronto, where temperatures were around zero and had to quickly get use to temperatures in the 80’s. I didn’t. I got through the race but clearly remember yelling some choice language at my husband (then boyfriend) as I was nearing the finish. It’s a wonder that we’re still together!

  37. I needed to do a 12 mile long run while I was visiting my friend in NC. Not a problem, since there were all sorts of trails that snaked through her neighborhood. I went out 6 with the plan to turn around and head back, but then realized that every turn and every house looked exactly(!) the same. I got totally lost and then it started to rain. A lot. My long run became much longer (and much wetter) and I eventually found a gas station and was able to make a call. But while I was waiting to be rescued I had to hang out at this gas station in semi-rural NC with my light blue running tank and shorts that were now soaked and more or less transparent. I think that I was that day’s entertainment for everyone who stopped to get gas. I just held my head up and threw my shoulders back and tried to remember that I was a strong woman who had just run 17 miles (or so).

  38. A 20K race in the stinging, windy, sideways rain. Oh, and I was having my period. If I can do that race (with a new PR!) I can do any run. Any time. I call on that race frequently when I am struggling – not just with a tough run.

  39. I got through a run that I didn’t want to do by chanting a mantra to myself all the way through: the more I run, the faster I’ll get away from her. Who is her? A used-to-be best friend who sold me out. Now sometimes when I run, I run for revenge. Silly maybe… but it’s better than eating ice cream and getting fat while I pout about it all. Every mile is a mile I’m not like her. Every run is distance away from who I was when we had what we had. Every step is a new me. That’s how I get through this tough break-up and through tough runs.

  40. Boston Marathon 2010 (shudder)

    Having a history of REALLY freaky bad luck with Boston (seriously, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you…car accidents, stress fractures, feverish bronchitis, etc.) I decided this year was going to be MY YEAR.

    Eh, not so much.

    The week of the race I was diagnosed with a raging bout of ITBS. My best-case scenario was to make it through part of the race without being in extreme pain. I made it to mile 17. I was in pretty bad pain and considered pulling out (which would have been a first) when at that moment I came up beside Team Hoyt (the father and son team). To see the father pushing his full grown son up the Newton Hills made me realize I needed to dig deep and get ‘er done. Seeing them at that moment brought me to tears. And then I hyperventilated. But I made it to the finish line and into the welcoming arms of the Medical Staff. πŸ™‚

  41. Here is a bit of honesty from the marriage and running trenches. It was over year ago, so not so recent, but it was the very first thing that popped into my mind when I think of tough running moments. My husband and I were out for a 17ish mile training run. We had a goal (arbitrarily determined by him) to run sub 4:30. I was running fairly slowly that day…who knows why…heat? stress? Don’t know. Anyway, whether he was trying to “motivate” me or start an argument I got really upset about this pace thing. I started crying and hyperventilating. It turned out I was so dehydrated that when I started weeping, no tears came out. It was the most bizarre experience ever. Needless to say, what got me through was rehydrating and then having a rational discussion about our goals. Fluids and communication — VERY important. AND — come race day — I did manage a 4:26 at the marathon — I was SOO proud.

  42. My hardest moment was when I hit the wall at mile 20 in my last marathon. I really thought I would fall over if I ran one more step. I knew if that happened that they would take me off the course. So I walked. I got through it because I knew I had to be an example for my kids. So I kept telling myself, “Never, never, never give up.” I walked until mile 23, then ran the last 3 miles. It was my worst marathon ever, but I did it for my kids.

  43. My kids are old enough to watch themselves while I run.
    However, I don’t want to leave until they wake up. This Summer they’ve turned into pre-teens who sleep very late. Sometimes I don’t get out until 11:00 – very hot time to run.

    I have a half at the end of August, so I need to be able to run in heat and humidity. But the heat and humidity are slowing me down SO much I’m not sure I could even finish a half right now.

  44. My hardest running moment was my first group run with good friends. We had all been running alone, and decided it would be fun to train together. After my first few steps it became really apparent that I was going to be the slowest runner in the group. I am not talking about a few seconds here, I mean REALLY the slowest. My heart sank as each person passed me. All I could think was “What is up with that? I have been training really hard!” And thus began my personal battle to run with my legs, not my brain. The funk I fell into lasted through my first 10k race. When coworkers asked me how it went I said “okay”. They would get that look non-runners do and say “Didn’t you just run 10 KILOMETRES?” I cheated myself of the feeling of accomplishment that should have come with completing that race and it all led back to that first group run. So, I got over it! I got over myself. I am training for my first half marathon and now I do long runs with those ladies once a week. When we start out I say “Have a great run guys!” and when we are done we meet back at someone’s house with our kids and husbands and enjoy good food and great company. Can’t believe I ever let a little thing like being slow get in the way of how running with them makes me feel.

  45. I have fallen behind on marathon training and forced myself to jump right back in on Sunday when I went from running 7 miles as my top mileage in a while to running 13.1 miles. And, it had to be on a treadmill because it was in the mid 90s outside with high humidity. It doesn’t get any worse than that!

    Check out my new health and beauty blog Running With Mascara

  46. The toughest run for me? The first few runs after recovering from a back injury–it kept me from running for 3 long months. I had the go ahead from my PT to take it slow and run/walk, but my mind was telling me that it was either going to hurt a lot as soon as I started running or that I would run too far or too fast and set myself back in the recovery process. I walked the first few the blocks and I could feel my back tensing up in anticipation of painβ€”doesn’t really help when you are trying to avoid back pain! What helped me was to remind myself what the alternative would be –not running again? Not possible! I had to learn patience with what I was able to do and remind myself that if I take care now I will soon be back to my old distances and old speed and then some. But shaking those doubts and fear of a re-injury are tough. One run at a time!

  47. I started out trying to get into running with no plan or education. Not a good idea, felt discouraged and run down. I came out on the other end by finding you guys, reading your book and also starting the c25k program!

  48. Last July, I ran the most brutal 5k race of my life. It was 95 degrees at 9 am that morning, but had poured rain all night leaving huge mud puddles all over the course. People were falling left and right and everyone was covered in mud. The heat and humidity were killer and I ended up doing the walk of shame for almost a quarter of a mile just to finish. Worst. Race. Ever.

  49. My worst running moment was at my first marathon this past May in Cleveland, Ohio. I was feeling great and on pace to qualify for Boston. At mile 22 I remember someone saying looking good ladies (I was running with my cousin) just 4.2 left to go. You can do that in your sleep. I remember thinking to myself, we sure can. The next thing I remember is waking up in an ambulance. I was convinced I had gone down at mile 22 but turns out I went down at mile 25. A mere 1.2 miles from the finish line. 18 weeks of training to finish in the ER. It was my worst run by far, however it was also my proudest because I was running for my friend who was celebrating her 1o year brain tumor free milestone. So, I may not have finished the race but I ran 25 miles for her and to help find a cure for Chordoma. I have signed up for Cleveland 2011 and I will finish all 26.2 this year (making sure to get enough electrolytes since that was my problem this year!).

  50. I got through my last tough run by promising the wait for the next run will be worth it… I had been running well through this pregnancy (my 3rd, and the first one I’ve tried running!) and even had a great 5k at 5 months in, but by 7 months my bladder couldn’t handle it and my hips hurt like I couldn’t believe. It was awful to have to admit I couldn’t keep running, and power walking isn’t giving me any of the satisfaction that running did, but it is keeping me in shape and I’m looking forward to running again after baby comes (any time now, kid. I’m ready!). I’ve gotten faster after each kid, so maybe this is going to be the best running year yet πŸ™‚

  51. My most recent moment was during my first postpartum 5k. I was prepared to run three miles uphill pushing the double jogger, but I was prepared for a paved trail. It wasn’t. It was mostly dirt, and it was very bumpy. My youngest is still pretty small so I ended up running a large portion of the race with the front wheel off the ground to minimize the bumps.

    I got through it by deciding that I didn’t want to be passed by any of the walkers who were coming behind us. I knew I’d be one of the last runners (I can outsprint my husband when need be!), but I didn’t want to be passed by the walkers who had started after us!

  52. I wish I could say the Zooma run. Had that one planned until we moved.

    Latest hardest run: Every run outside in the past month. South Florida humidity is WAY harder than my Colorado Springs mountains. I feel like I’m breathing in a moving dryer.

    Persevering though. In the gym for now. One run a week outside. Catch me in February and I’m hoping my tune will be different!

  53. Toughest running moment I went out for a 7 mile country run, on my way back in a dog came out of nowhere and bit in the butt. I sprayed him with my pepper spray but the wind was blowing. The pepper spay all went into my face. I could not tell you what hurt worse the spray or the bite I was still 2 miles from my house so run home barely being able to see because I could not fully open my eyes, face burning and with blood dripping down my leg. I was glad I did not take my kids out with running that day but I also think that is why I got bit because I was all alone for once. Still love to run but I tense up any time a dog comes near me.

  54. During the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2005, my friend, Gary, a 60-year-old seasoned ultrarunner, and I, were just past A-frame at about 11.5 miles (12K feet) when a huge storm came in. Hail, snow, and the worst–lightning. The course was closed just below us, and search and rescue let us know we had to keep going another 1.5 miles to get to the top, weather be damned. People pulling out their cell phones (in the lightning) calling wives, husbands, etc..”I hope I make it.” As Gary and I were huddled over running up the trail, watching the lightning hit the dirt, smelling it in the air, and trying hard to breathe, I asked him: “Do you think we’re going to make it?” and he said “Ask me when we get to the top.”

  55. Running the Princess Half Marathon 2 days after slicing my foot open on 3 carpet tacks… Had to superglue it closed during the race, but I wasn’t going to miss that race! I have pics, if you wanna see them! LOL (They aren’t pretty!) I made it through the race though!!!

  56. After the months of training for my marathon, my toughest running moment was the day of my marathon. It was freezing and I had not prepared for running in weather that cold. The first part of the marathon was cold but manageable, but I thought I was going to die (dramatic of course) at about mile 21. I had shed some layers around mile 18 when it finally seemed to be warming up, but at mile 21 it either cooled down, or my tired body was losing heat, and I could barely move I was so cold. I was so frustrated I had made it that far, and was feeling like I couldn’t go on. Thankfully, I finished. Getting into a heated car after crossing was golden.

  57. tough run? Well I recently had my first child, she is 7 months now, and after having her running was very tough. I had to stop running about 3 months before she was born because I am also in nursing school and it was just too much for this mama. So I started running for real about 2 months post baby and lets just be real 5 months total is a long time off, the most I’ve ever taken! It was so hard to go out there everyday and know that more or less my run was most likely going to suck, but I eventually decided on a half marathon to train for about got my behind out the door by thinking about NOT sucking at the half! it worked and I am now happily/not happily (depending on the hour) debating jumping in to train for the Portland Marathon! well see!

  58. Two weekends ago I was scheduled for my first 10k. It was the 2nd in a 3 race trail series. I was feeling pretty poorly all week, dealing with a chronic illness exacerbation, and had rolled my ankle the weekend before. Briefly considered bagging the race, but it was a series πŸ™‚ The course was brutal and beautiful; Some uphills so gnarly you had to grab onto roots/rocks/whatever to keep going. Rolled my ankle again, probably because I felt like poopoo. Tried to keep running, didn’t feel so good, decided to walk the rest (about 2 miles). I’m proud of myself now; I’m uber competitive – it was a RACE -a year ago I would have just kept going, but then would have been out of the game for awhile. While that was a hard choice and I hated doing it, I was able to redeem myself with a 12mi trail race Sunday. And it felt good!

  59. Last Saturday I had been up late the night before, and eaten too many carbs including chips & salsa at 11pm. I slept a little extra, but I paid the price in the heat! My 6 mile run was hot and my stomach felt terrible the whole time. But I pushed through it. I gave myself permission to not push myself as hard as I normally do and I took walk breaks when I felt really bad. I tried to not pay attention to my time and just focused on finishing. It was one of my roughest runs in a while, but at the end I was very proud of myself for getting it done.

  60. Had my first 10k scheduled 2 weekends ago, 2nd in a 3 race trail series. Had been feeling poorly all week, dealing with a chronic illness exacerbation, and had rolled my ankle the week before. Had briefly considered bagging the race, but it was part of a series πŸ™‚
    Brutal, beautiful course, so gnarly some uphills you had to grab on to trees/roots/etc to help get you up. Rolled my ankle again, probably because I felt like poopoo. Tried to run, didn’t feel so good… Decided to walk the rest (a little more than 2 miles). For me, being uber competitive – it was a RACE – walking was totally sucky. That said, I am proud of myself now for making a good, adult decision. A year ago I would have kept going, and then would have been out of the game for awhile. As it turns out, that day was bad, started on the upturn last week, and Sunday I was able to crank out a 12mi trail run and felt good doing it.

  61. It has really gotten hot here in the last few weeks, so I got up at 5 a.m. and went out for a run (usually I go at 7:30 a.m. or hit the treadmill at the gym). It’s been a while since I ran in the dark, so I had to push through the “running in the dark” paranoia and I had to stay on the sidewalks. My knees take a pounding on the sidewalks, so by the time I hit 5 miles, I was DONE. But, hey, 5 miles is 5 miles…

  62. Ditto to Jennifer’s comment about stress fractures …I was 13 weeks into (hard/dedicated) training for the Ogden Marathon (my first race @ that distance) when I noticed a leg pain that wouldn’t go away. Turns out it was a stress fracture – of my femur! Diagnosis – no running until 4 days before the race to see if I could run it. 3 weeks of “tapering” (meaning mostly just sitting around pouting and lots of elliptical work) was not enjoyable – just depressing! After getting the clearance from my Dr. I started the marathon, but by mile 8 I knew my leg was going to kill the “race”. I decided to just make it a “run” and be glad to say I was a Marathon Finisher. I finished a full 48 minutes after my goal time, but I finished!

    Here’s what got me through – my running partner and dear friend was running the same marathon (her 5th) trying to qualify for Boston. I kept thinking that the sooner I got to the finish line, the sooner I could celebrate her victory with her (she killed the qualifying time by over 7 minutes!). I also knew my husband had gotten up at 5 a.m., gotten both my girls ready and driven the 2 hours from our house to the race finish, after he had just worked a graveyard shift, to stand at the finish line cheering and ringing those cow bells. Knowing the amount of work my dear running partner put into the race and my family put into supporting me just kept pushing me to get done: to see them at the finish.

    BTW – my cute RLAM running partner has promised to run me in the last 6 miles of Ogden again next year (just after she finishes Boston), to get some race redemption!

  63. I had been training for the Gasparilla half marathon here in Tampa this past February. I have a real soft spot for the Gasparilla races and decided 12 days beforehand to do the full instead since it was the last year the full was being run. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty given I hadn’t run more than 12 miles in months but it got worse. The night before the marathon I ended up with food poisoning and spent three straight hours worshipping the porcelain god from both ends. At 3 a.m., after everything seemed to have subsided, I decided that if I could make it until start time without throwing up I’d still run. It was a rough race. Every single mile of it. But I pushed through and finished in a still respectable 4:49. In retrospect, it was probably a stupid and potentially dangerous choice to run given my dehydration level. But even though my time was 34 minutes slower than my PR, I felt more pride in finishing that day than any other race I’ve ever run.

  64. I agree with Meredith above…I also chant the “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” Song. “Just put one foot in front of the other…”

    I ran a trail half marathon last month that absolutely was really hard. I have done trail runs…but not a whole half. Didn’t prep enough and tripped a couple times.

    This song got me through…

  65. Ran at a friend’s cabin this weekend-hot, humid, horseflies and TONS of hills! On the upside, I did see a deer while I was out, so that kept me going.

  66. I’m a beginning runner with fibromyalgia, training for my first 5K in September. Last week I felt like I was really hitting my stride and making good progress in my training, but Thursday morning I got on the treadmill for my usual run and it felt like running through oatmeal. Everything hurt, I had no stamina, and I just felt awful. I pushed through it but didn’t feel my usual post-run high and couldn’t figure out what went wrong. Later that evening I came down with a fever and sore throat — mystery solved! With fibromyalgia the body takes a long time to heal, so I had to lay off ALL training for several days even though my fever was mild and I wasn’t feeling too bad. That was tough mentally more than physically — there is nothing I hate more than a setback! Today was my first day back on the treadmill so hopefully I’ll be back on track (so to speak) soon!

  67. My hardest running issue lately has been major shoulder surgery, which has certainly put a damper in my long strides during these hot days. However, since getting my stitches out, I’ve been able to run again by making sure to clean the wound regularly (sweat = no bueno for post-op scars) and stretching on my arm daily. My legs have been feeling much better and I’ve been getting back into the swing of things!

  68. I know this may sound elementary, but any time I’m having a hard run, or facing a tough section of a run, I start singing to myself: “Just put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll walking out the door…” in the same tune we learned when we were little toddlers. Somehow, just singing it to myself (and sometimes outloud if I’m alone) helps me put things in perspective and know that I can do anything if I just break it down to the tiniest steps…literally!

  69. Oof. I can think of a tough running moment right away: my last race, just over a week ago. It was my first 15k, and it was HOT. As in, I was not on fire in a good way; the morning was humid and sticky and hot from the get-go and I just knew it wasn’t good when not even a few miles in I wanted to call it good. That I had a super steep hill ahead of me, at about the 5-mile mark, didn’t make things any easier. Still, I thought I could handle it. I’d been training on hills and I knew this particular stretch was part of the deal when I signed on for this $^%&$^% race. Guess what, though? I couldn’t handle it. Half-way up the hill I had to stop and walk. Which was depressing. But I also told myself, “OK, walk it off, get to the top and run the downhill, get back into the game.” Except I couldn’t. Even the downhill portion got me bad. I just wanted to keep walking. Well, actually, I wanted to stop completely. Maybe dunk myself in the beautiful bay I was running along before promptly getting a cocktail (this seriously was my thinking and it was not even 9 a.m.) So, how’d I get out of this funk? I didn’t really, sadly. I kept pushing myself forward, willing myself to just finish the race, stick it out. I did finish, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t devastated at the finish line. I was just so bummed that the heat and humidity got to me. The way I handled it during the race was to walk-run, walk-run. But I’ve never had to do this in a race before. It was humbling.

    The good news: I’ve since had a couple of awesome runs, and I’m over that 15k. I told myself afterward that I was never going to run that stinkin’ race again (it’s in my hometown). But, like childbirth, I’ve kinda forgotten how bad it was. Kind of. And I think I will try it again, if only to prove to myself that I can do better. (I fall more within the SBS camp, can you tell? πŸ™‚ )

    By the way, LOVED the video with this post!

  70. The last 10K I ran, on a very hot Missouri summer morning. I was trying to keep up with my friend and running partner, that was motivation enough (although we missed our 60 min. goal by 23 seconds).

  71. Tough run? All of them lately! I am training for the Chicago marathon this October, and the milage is increasing steadily. Some runs are really really tough (8 miles on 7/4 in gross heat was a struggle the ENTIRE way) and some are really empowering (my 10 mile follow up to that this past Saturday). The 8 miler, I walked a lot, but I finished it. The 10 miler I ran with a smile on my face until mile 7 when my stomach made it miserable (but my legs! they felt AWESOME!). For me as a running newbie who only started back again this past March, the key has been my training schedule. I am a slave to my training schedule unless my BODY tells me not to be. I keep my mental wimpiness out of the decision making. It makes it so much easier to get out there at 4:30 in the morning, because I HAVE to. It says so right here!

  72. I recently went 4 days with no run (I try to run every other day) and was feeling the “well, it’s been THIS long, I could go another day” feeling when I forced myself into my running togs with the promise of a new route and no time limits. “I’ll just go for 20 minutes” I told myself. Once I got out there, that 20 minutes on a new route turned to 30 and then ended up being 40 with me feeling so great at the end, I was sad I had to get home to relieve my husband. The new route, along with the no pressure promise, gave me permission to go and have low expectations for the run. I was just going to get over the hump of NOT going. Turned out to be the best run I’ve had in six months.

  73. Tough runs have become more and more frequent, as my belly expands by the day with my first baby-on-board. It’s been all about changing my perspective and goals, and accepting that right now, my body is working pretty hard at a bigger task than running. 25 weeks along, and I AM still running, but the runs are getting shorter, slower, and when I’m on the treadmill, have become run/walk intervals. Between the physical challenge of running with a pregnant belly, and the mental challenge of learning to accept where I’m at physically, pregnancy has been great for giving me a whole new perspective.

    Also, on the REALLY tough days, I imagine my son in my belly, pretending to drive a race car, and cheering me on “go mama go!”- Works like a charm πŸ™‚

  74. I took a month off of running recently to help with some minor injuries and I started running again last week. It has been tough every since. I have been battling a small cold so that might be why or when I normally run during my lunch break it has been hot and I have had no energy. I have tried getting up early but that is hard too. Yesterday I finally felt some energy so I am running today at lunch and it is cloudy so that should help.

    My worst run ever was probablly my first half marathon. I was ready but what I was not ready for was that fact that is was 6.5 miles of steep uphill. As everyone else is walking around me ( I was still attempting to run at this point) I kept thinking that is suppose to be a running race not a walking race and why is everyone walking – do they know something I don’t know? Well I figured it out!

    I was so excited to hit the turnaround point but after 3 miles of straight downhill I was just craving a flat road. Also, I am an IPOD junky and I had to do the whole run without my IPOD because I deleted all of the songs off of it. I could have used the IPOD about mile 10 to get me through the downhill.

  75. I participated in a duathlon this past weekend. I had to run 2 miles, bike 18 and then run 4.5 miles. Well, it was a very hot morning here in W. Michigan and I was not doing so well. I am a runner first and sure was not looking like it on this day. I has slow and sluggish and even walked ( gasp) a few times during the last 4.5 miles. I felt defeated and angry with myself for doing so horribly. I had less than a half mile to go to the finish when a woman in my age group FLEW by me ( we were marked on our legs with our age etc.). I was not about to let her beat me at the finish! I waited until we were about .25 miles closer to the finish line before making my move, and I found some kind of strength to pass her -literally at the last second. I beat her by one second and only felt bad about it for about 2 minutes! I am a competitor by nature, and I like to win, so she really helped me to give it my own when I thought I had nothing left. I ended up placing first in my age group too….

  76. I did my first half-marathon in may and for starters, it rained the whole time, everyone was soaking wet from the get go and anyone who’s done the flying pig marathon here in Cincinnati can tell you it’s all hills. So at mile 10 my left leg’s IT band started to hurt, even when I slowed down. I decided to switch my attention to the other runners and to the people who were cheering along the course (soaked as well) My whole attitude changed from “awe is me, I hate this, I wanna stop” to “Wow, all these people out here in the rain, they’re crazy…and I’m one of them!” It dawned on me I’d become a runner. That thought alone got me through the last 3.1 miles of pain. Now that’s my mantra when I go out on my long runs. I am a runner πŸ™‚

  77. Recent tough moment? That is easy!

    I was about 18-20ish miles into my 50+k trail ultra just two weeks ago. It was at this point that I had already pushed past what I thought I was capable of doing since this course was far more challenging in person than it was on paper, with an elevation gain and loss of 6k on very technical trail I was beginning to wonder if a full time working, geographically single mom of three, who only trained on the roads behind a jogging stroller could actually be an ultra marathoner! I told myself I was going to run the section I was on since it was the only really runnable portion I had encountered. I wasn’t going to let myself walk until I returned to the woods and the switch backs that lay ahead. I ran without stopping. I passed a few people. One of which was a young lady who had been considerably ahead of me on an out and back section.
    When I was leaving the next aid station I heard a young woman, the same young woman, complaining about how she had gone off course (I had already done this myself 3 times – the wrong course, not the complaining). She was very vocal about how upset she was at the trail markings, the extra time it cost her and how she had been in a postion to “place” prior to her detour. It was at that point that my waivering smile returned in full force. I told myself that no matter what happened I was going to finish this race with a smile on my face! I knew that I had signed up for everything this race threw at me and you know what? I was loving it. It was challenging. It was dirty. It was pushing me to reach down for something I wasn’t sure was inside me. I was living not just going through the motion of whatever role I was trying to fufill; mom, wife, employee, daughter, sister…
    It’s not that the race suddenly became easy but with that mental shift I began to enjoy my journey more. I appreciated where I was and how lucky I was to be able to do what I was doing. I finished the race. I ran across that finish line with a big smile on my face and was greeted by my cheering family who never doubted that I could.

  78. My runs are like so many peoples-always a crapshoot. Somedays, like yesterday, I felt like I was flying and could go on forever. I was like “Yup I GOT this” and got all crazy cocky with my bad self. And then this morning my legs turned to concrete and each step seemed to thud. What I do on my bad runs though is remember the good ones and even the bad ones from before and recall that no matter what, i DID it. Maybe I felt like crud, maybe I felt good but life is always going to be like that. Finishing is all that matters. One foot, the other foot, one foot…and guess what whether you are a ‘flying bad mammajamma’ or a ‘ slogging slug’ you will still get there. You will still get those miles in. And at the end you will admire yourself even more the days you feel rotten because its easy to go when you feel good. It takes moxy to go when you feel like staying under the covers. The ebb and flow of running can build a lot more than muscles if you let it.

  79. the last marathon I ran I ran with my husband and his twin brother. I knew at mile 13 that oh crap this was not my day to be running. My bro in law caught up to me at mile 15 and started cracking jokes and then we caught my husband at mile 18. You put those two together and you can’t help but laugh as they crack jokes. At mile 20 I got really sick to my stomach but because I knew those two were close I kept going so I could catch a good laugh. that marathon sucked.

  80. Speed work this morning was a killer. The weather was oppressive and my legs felt like led. I was doing 1/2 mile repeats and my “fast” run wasn’t any faster than my recovery run. I just told myself to trust the process. Even if my speed didn’t show up for the workout it will show up eventually if I stick with it. Quitting just because I’m not really feeling it won’t make my long runs or my half-marathon any easier. Stick with the plan.

  81. I recently ran the Kona Marathon. The first 13 miles went as planned but it started getting very HOT and HUMID. I didn’t think I was going to finish. I had to convince myself to make it to the next water station and then take a walk break. At mile 23, I started to feel sick so I walked the last 3 miles. I finished!

  82. I’m training for my first half-marathon, and my plan has a weekly 2-mile run. After conquering 6 and 7 mile runs easily, I started to discount the importance of preparing for the short runs too. One Tuesday morning last month, I will admit that I was recovering from a bit too much wine at dinner the night before. That had me feeling bad enough. I skipped breakfast and drank only a cup of coffee. By the time I felt like getting out to run, it was about 9:00 and the Florida sun was out with a fury. Dehydration + mild hangover + intense heat = a very challenging 2 miles. It was the hardest run of my training so far. I had to take walking breaks twice, but I got through it. Lesson learned: respect the run, no matter what the distance. Also, no more than two glasses of wine the night before a run.

  83. I ran my first 5K race since high school last weekend, thinking it would be cake since my long runs are pushing 7 miles. I started off at a great, comfy pace but in the middle of it, I got a painful stitch in my side. I thought about all the advice I’d read and took shallow, quicker breaths for a minute or two and then some deeper longer breaths for a minute after that.

    What really helped though? Pressing my fingers into the stitchy part of my abdomen and cussing under my breath like a sailor all while smiling at onlookers who were cheering us on.

    Oh, and thinking about my sweet 2.5 yr old and husband waiting for me at the finish line. πŸ™‚

  84. i set out on a 5 mile trail run a few weeks ago at the local state park. i had run a lot that week and wasn’t really planning on adding another run but my boyfriend was meeting some friends out there to run so i decided i would go along. my right calf is chronically tight but generally loosens up in the first few minutes. this day, it decided to do the opposite. the tighter it got, the more i tripped and stumbled. to add to the problems, my ipod was on the fritz and had decided to stop working after the first 5 minutes and i had somehow forgotten to put my contacts in that morning so i couldn’t see the trail very well. about 20 minutes in, i decided that the run just wasn’t going to happen and decided to walk the rest of the way. about an hour, and a few wrong turns, later, i finally made it back to the car. took me a few hours to get out of the funk it left me in but taught me to stick to my training schedule, it’s there for a reason. next time i’ll just take the dog and have a nice leisurely hike.

  85. I ran a 5K race Saturday night in KC and the temperature at the start (7:00 pm) was about 95 and about 80% humidity. I have run two marathons (Chicago and Boston) and this might have been tougher than either of those (it was decidely less fun!) The only way I got through it was to tell myself that it would be over SOON (and there was a free beer waiting for me at the end – AFTER I rehydrated!) Happy to say I survived and even won my age group!

  86. After months of outside running, I ran on the treadmill on Monday, and it was so hard, mentally and physically!! I was drained, first I left my shorts at home then had to wear an older pair of coverups/pj shorts!!! Which were way too short but I was on the treadmill and no one could see :)…..I actually felt claustrophic on my run!! It was not a good experience, and I jacked up the pace to 9.0 and I think I pulled my groin muscle!! Ouch!! Back running outdoors yesterday and today at 5:20AM to beat the heat and the humidity and it felt great to hop in the pool afterwards this am, as I prepare for my 2nd triathlon this upcoming weekend!! YIKES!!

  87. I left my Bondi Band at home when we were in CO a few days ago. But I just threw my hair up in a very high ponytail and forgot about it. But I really did miss my Bondi Band; had it been hotter or more humid, that would have been tough.

  88. The heat/humidity is killer in the mid-Atlantic right now. Despite starting earlier and earlier, it’s been very rough. While training for my first maration, I began my very first 12 mile run on 7/10/10. I twisted my ankle in the first mile. I briefly thought about stopping, but it wasn’t too bad and I have weak ankles and constantly twist them. Then the humidity brought forth it’s wrath: torrential downpours. I ran my first 12 mile run ever with a twisted ankle through puddles and the worst rain – we were all drenched. I took many, many walk breaks and even allowed myself to cry a little bit (who would know, it was raining) but I still finished in a little over 2 hours. The rest of the day, I iced my ankle and rested. Last Saturday, I was back for a 14 mile run, which I finished in under 2-1/2 hours.

  89. Lately I have been running a lot by myself and just around my neighborhood. I am getting a bit burned out and it gets harder to get out the door. Finding a new place to run – even if it means hopping in the car, or making time to run with a friend helps. Also registering for a race- I have a 1/2 marathon coming up Labor Day weekend that is starting to feel close enough to put the pressure on- especially when combined with the 2 1/2 weeks of vacation I am about to depart on.

  90. I’m fairly new to running, I’ve only been at it one year. But my all time worst run ever was on January 1st of this year. The day was really, really warm for January- 60 degrees. I just thought; wow what a great day to get in a run without tons of extra clothing on. So I threw on my capri’s and a short sleeve top and headed out. Got to the turnaround point and noticed some dark clouds- really dark clouds. Not even a minute later the wind picked up. And the temp dropped ( I found out when I got home that it had dropped 20 degrees in just a matter of minutes) I picked up the pace struggling against the wind and a hill. I was still doing okay when it started to rain just a little. Okay not having fun now but I can do it, then it started to pour and THEN hail. Icy stinging hail pelting me, temps now at 40’s and me just in short sleeves, and wind. I was only a little over a mile from home but I called my husband and said “please pick me up NOW”. Then I sprinted! He hadn’t understood exactly where I was so by the time he picked me up I was only .5 miles from home. I was still incredibly grateful to not have to struggle the last half-mile. I will never trust 60 degrees in January again.

  91. I started running in January. I tried to do too much too fast and ended up running injured with a 10K training group. I wouldn’t slow down or back off so I found myself running/walking/hobbling through the 10K I spent 12 weeks working toward. I took the next five weeks off and hit the reset button on my thinking. I read a quote from the Runner’s World “Dailly Kick in the Butt” that basically said any idiot can train themselves into the ground, but it takes discipline to listen to your body and slow down when you need to. I think for me this has been the hardest part–learning when to slow down. When NOT to finish a planned training run. When to take an extra rest day to recover. I’m on week three of non-injured running…I’ve been on the teetering verge several days, but I keep my 10K experience in my mind to remind me it’s not always about finishing the race, but sometimes about finishing STRONG.

  92. i recently ran 9 miles of a full marathon relay. it was in may and it was the hottest day out of NO where so nobody had been training in this weather. i ran the first leg, and about 5 miles in I was seriously about to cry, never had i felt so defeated in a race. I was stopping at every water station. I finally had to stop and walk at times and I was so mad at myself, i have ran a half and never walked and here i was walking at 7 miles. the only thing that kept me going was realizing that EVERYONE around me was in the same shape. it was just too darn hot. i tried to focus on one foot in front of the other….and i spelled my kids names out as i run. it sucked, but i was so proud to hand the baton off to the next lady !!!

  93. Every run on the way home. We live on top of a hill, so no matter which way I run, it’s up hill coming home. I do mini goals like going to the next tree, or timing myself, or skipping to my fav song on the ipod. But I’m starting to be thankful for these hills…I know they are making me stronger, even if I am all red and sweaty and grimacing on the way back.

  94. the latest struggle was during a brick training for a du coming up in august. we’d already done the bike, but by the time we were done, it was so hot and humid we were soaked in sweat. running with no shade, we just ran when we could and walked when we could. i was so glad that we’d done it afterwards (instead of just bagging the run), and i don’t know that it had ever felt so good to go in to the a/c to stretch when we were done!

  95. I didn’t just have a tough run, I had a misserable week of runs. My mom was in the hospital just last week and every run felt like a struggle. I’m in the thick of marathon training for October and had a whole schedule of runs planned, but my legs and heart were to heavy to even look at it. So instead of even looking at my schedule, I just went out and ran. They were the hardest runs I have ever experienced – which was odd to me since usually my runs are my therapy and get me over things just like this. But they were hard, and misserable and often couldn’t get past 3 miles. My only thought when I would leave out my front door was that I KNEW I would regret it if I didn’t at least try – and try I did. I didn’t have too many thoughts either as I ran, usually I’m notorious for going over everything in my life when I run. But I think the blank mind was what helped me just run – to just escape even if it was painful. I’m pleased to say that as soon as she came home all that had lifted and I’m back! I nailed evey workout this last week that was on my schedule. Sometimes just letting go and letting your legs take over is important πŸ™‚

  96. Seattle 2008 Marathon, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I thought I could run it 8 weeks after doing Portland Marathon. I was wrong. I brought my dad, who has limited mobility, we took the train. I hadn’t looked at the course, but planned on doing it in 5 hours. Got to the halfway at 2:35, and mentally knew I couldn’t go any faster. It all went downhill from there. I had 3 bathroom breaks before mile 12 which killed any forward momentum, then the hills began. Who puts the hills at the end? At mile 20 I just started crying and walking. I didn’t get enought nutrition, and crashed big time. I finished in 5:59:01! At least all of my marathons are still under 6 miles, but will never do that marathon again. And will always obsess about the course before a marathon…always.

  97. Just this past Monday I ran an easy 2 miles with my son’s track coach and then planned to run 4 more miles to meet my husband and kids who were fishing farther down the trail.

    It was hot and super, incredibly humid. I set out and after a little more than a mile I realized I wouldn’t last 3 more miles without hurting myself or getting heat exhaustion. So I turned back and didn’t finish the run.

    Turning around was hard because I knew the coach and family would ask how my run was and I was going to have to admit that I didn’t finish it.

    But it would have been stupid to jeopardize the bigger goal of my half marathon to complete a run that was supposed to be just for fun.

    1. AMEN! That was my answer-to stop or slow down is the hardest thing for me and the main thing I’ve had to focus on to stay injury free. Good luck in your half.

  98. Treadmill! I used to always run on the treadmill but haven’t done it regularly in probably 8-9 months. Due to some hot weather and scheduling challenges, I did 3 runs last week on the treadmill. The toughest was a 5 miler on Sunday. Tough because it was the middle of the afternoon and we’d been away for a weekend where I didn’t get much sleep. I took several 1 minute walk breaks but got the miles in and wasn’t too disappointed with my pace. Glad to be back outdoors this week though!

  99. Last week I overslept and started my run too late in the morning for the Florida heat and humidity. the first half flew by, but when I reached the turnaround and headed for home, I was running into the sun, and started to fade quickly. I stopped at the guard gate into my community, and prayed they would have cold water. They did, and the guard on duty was kind enough to let me have two cups of cold, refreshing, life-saving liquid, before I headed on my way. Another mile to my house took almost as long as the first four miles, as I was run/ walking/ crawling at times. But I made it home and vowed never to run so late in the morning/ without liquids again. And I remain grateful to the guard who saved me!

  100. Every year during the Bix 7, after the halfway turnaround, you face a long hill. There is a very steep hill at the beginning, but the crowd gets you through that pretty easy. This second hill is a slower incline and really sneaks up on you. When I get to this point in the race, I try to focus on a problem or situation I have at work. So as I run up it, the whole time I am thinking of how to fix the issue or planning something completely unrelated to running. Before I know it, the hill is conquered and I have some good ideas cooking.

  101. My calves have been killing me! Two weeks ago I went out for 4 ‘easy’ miles. Typically those 4 are nothing. They feel like a short jog around town. However, on this day I couldn’t get the stiffness shaken out. By mile three my feet were no longer flexing and I told my husband (who HAS to run with me – grrr) to go on. He almost stopped but some more ‘gentle’ encouragement and he went ahead. That last mile HURT physically, but mentally it gave me quiet time to process what I needed to do to rehab those calves and keep them fresh each week. I’ve been following the plan I made that day (ice, ice, baby) and have had NO problems with them since.
    I believe, if my sweetie would have stayed with me, the negativity I was feeling would have landed in my calves and I wouldn’t have been able to focus.
    Sometimes being alone with my thoughts is the best!

  102. I recently ran the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay and my first leg was a 7.4 mile run that started out gradually up hill and slowly became more and more steep as I progressed along the route (and it was on a dusty, rut filled dirt road). I had never seen the route other than on paper, so I really didn’t know what to expect. As I kept running, it got progressively harder and harder to push myself to keep going up the hill, but I was able to run the whole thing (even if at a slow shuffle up the steeper parts) and that has given me a lot of confidence. It was such a challenge and I was able to overcome it and keep moving!

  103. My third half-marathon last summer was an awful race. I have no idea why. I mean, maybe I hadn’t trained as much as I had for previous races, but it was a bad race day for everyone else too. I’ve never seen so many runners carted off in ambulances. Maybe it was the heat and humidity that did it. Anyone, I got mile 8, and my legs were just dead. I’ve never really gotten to this point in a race before where I had no idea how I would finish. It didn’t seem possible to get five more miles out of my legs. But what choice did I have? I didn’t even consider catching the SAG bus back. I just kept running, let myself walk through the water stations, and pressed on. My time was 15 minutes slower than my previous half-marathons but I didn’t care. I knew I’d left everything I had out on that race course, and I felt like I was a stronger runner for having finished when I didn’t think I had anything left to give. My dad ran that race as well, and his time suffered almost as much as mine did. The heat/humidity can really be a killer.

  104. Its been really hot these days and getting through a hot long run on the weekend is tough. I bring plenty of water, run through the neighbors sprinklers whenever I can, and have a nice cold smoothie when I get home. Visualizing running through trails in Alaska helps too.

  105. I’m training for my first marathon – Atlantic City in October. I’m 40 and a mother to 3 sons. I’ve never in my life been athletic in any way, but I ran my first half marathon through Central Park in the spring. Slow and steady, but I became hooked and inspired. My husband and kids were so supportive! They continue to be now that I’m in the throws of marathon training, but my husband said to me a couple of days ago – “Don’t ever do this again, it is so bad for you.” It was like a punch in the stomach. He is so proud of me getting fit, but afraid of me hurting myself. (we have a good friend that injured himself seriously running a marathon – but the circumstances are VERY different!) So what did I do after he said this? I googled all the things that can go wrong while running a marathon – even death. Good lord, I should not have done that. There is always a worst case scenerio. Driving to the grocery store is probably more dangerous than me running 26.2. All I know is that this is something I never thought I could ever do, and now I can run ten miles with energy and a smile on my face. So to heck with ney sayers and negativity. This is my dream and I will get there, knowing that I’m following an excellent training plan and I’m looking after myself. It’s all about realizing a dream!! Plus I’ve found a new favorite martini – the Woman Warrior. If that’s not a great excuse to the hit the pavement, then nothing is! Here’s to the finish line!

  106. Last year, after the 14 mile training run (for an Oct marathon) I got a stress fracture… This year I’m trying to work my way back, but it’s been a hard road-I keep worrying about every “twinge” plus shin splints. Hard to recover that LOVE for running that I had before this, but I’m working on it! πŸ™‚ Trying to get my hubby to do his first half with me, a half might be easier to start with for me and more fun, mentally. πŸ™‚

  107. I had a couple of tough moments this morning! I’m trying to get back into running after taking time off to recover from neck surgery but the hot weather has really sapped my energy. When I ran last Monday night, it was so hot that I felt sick with chills and nausea. Today I decided to be smarter and ran on the treadmill at the gym, but it was just as difficult due to stale air and lack of any air movement (mind you, supposedly the gym is air conditioned!). It was warm and sticky even in the gym. The only thing that kept me moving was hearing some great music on my ipod, plus consciously cranking down the speed on the treadmill until I could breathe without gasping. I also kept thinking about great runs I’ve had in the past and focusing on how great I used to feel following a challenging run. I got through my morning run today and even though it was pretty awful, I feel good about accomplishing my goal. Next run will be better, for sure!

    Susan Riley

  108. i committed to running the marine corp marathon with my sis-in-law
    who backed out 2 weeks before race day
    i went anyway
    i ended up DRIVING from texas to dc with my two girls alone
    in tennessee…we ate at a place where they had a salad bar
    all i wanted to eat was salad/soup
    by the time i got to the hotel that night i was SICKER THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN IN MY LIFE
    food poisoning
    long story short
    was sick for 4 days
    ran the race 5 days after eating and getting poisoning
    after mile 11 i had nothing left

    so i cried and walked until the big 26.2

    hard hard hard race

    but i proved to myself that i am a finisher

  109. Toughtest running moment recently is getting a base of miles back for my upcoming marathon training.

    Went out on Monday morning, all PUMPED, with my two kids in the double stroller plus the dog on an electronic collar. Planned to do anything I could get out of them over an hour in a hilly nearby neighborhood. Stroller was LOADED with my 3.5 year-old, my almost one year-old and anything I could get in there that would keep them happy. Got about 20 minutes and two doggy-bags into the run to realize my tires were about 25% full.

    FINISHED running 1 hour 5 minutes anyway because I couldn’t stop!! Not sure if the tires being practically flat or my 3.5 year-old’s constant questions made it tougher!! Happy Training ladies – can’t wait to hear everyone elses’ inspirations!!

  110. Ugh, my tough run was a recent one. I had some serious stomach issues and the day was really hot!!! I was determined to finish even if it meant running from one bathroom to the next. I was only supposed to do five miles, but it was the longest five miles ever! I kept setting distance markers in my mind, ok get to that tree and then you can walk for 30 seconds, etc. Sometimes I would make it past the tree and keep running, but several times I gratefully stopped for a walk. It wasn’t a pleasant run by any stretch of the imagaination, but I did it and I will use that in the future to remind myself that I can tough it out when needed:)

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