Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The humbling


Bill Rodgers, veteran marathoner said it best: "The marathon can humble you. " But let's face it. Running any distance is hard. Running is humbling.

Any runner who has trained for an event and then crashed and burned would agree. I talk a lot about my disappointing first Chicago marathon. I trained well for that race. I set a goal time for 4:30 to finish, based on my training runs. My 20 miler went without a hitch. Then came the morning of the race. I was already  a bundle of nerves. But what did me in was the heat of the day. While I was prepared to run the distance, I wasn't mentally prepared to deal with the conditions. And those conditions were my undoing. I was so humbled by this race that I couldn't even consider doing another marathon until I won that entry last summer, a full 3 years later.

Respect the distance? Yes, sir!

I've come a long way since that race. My second marathon was the race I knew I had in me. I've run quite a few halfs since then as well, and most of them have gone well.

Alrighty, then! I've got this thing!

Ok, maybe not. I say most of those halfs, because, last year I had 2 very difficult, humbling halfs. Both of them were run in high humidity and heat, which seems to be the biggest humbler for me.

There are a few other "humblers" that keep me in check.


A few weeks ago, during my virtual half marathon, I got a horrible side stitch! I tried to run it off, which works most of the time, but this one was really painful and I had to stop and walk. I thought only beginners got side stitches? Talk about humbling. According to this article in Runner's World, side stitches are caused by a spasm in the diaphragm. The diaphragm gets fatigued, just like any other muscle in the body. I was tired and hot on that run. But a side stitch? I haven't stopped thinking about it, and have been paying a lot more attention to my breathing since then.

Hitting the wall is humbling. Not just limited to marathon runners, hitting the wall or "bonking" happens when the body runs out of fuel. Not too long ago, I hit the wall when I was running an 8 miler. Seriously. At mile 6, my legs just didn't want to go anymore. I felt like I was running through the mud. When I finally finished and looked at my splits, I was astonished at the drop in my pace. I didn't eat before that run, which isn't unusual for me, but this time it didn't work out so well for me. I felt pretty stupid, because as an experienced runner, I should know better.

My tummy keeps me humble. I may be fast, but I can't always run the paces I want because my GI tract also likes to run. I won't go into details, but I've had to stop in the middle of a race to avoid a code brown, and that's pretty humbling. I've learned mostly what I can and cannot eat, and that has helped this issue a ton. When I eat a food that affects me, I pay the price. How many times do you have to get hit over the head before you learn a lesson?


Injuries are humbling. I've had my share of injuries, and there's nothing worse than having your feeling of invincibility shut down by ITB syndrome. Or patellofemoral stress syndrome. Both due to overuse. Both very preventable. Both very humbling. I do a lot of yoga and stretching to try to prevent some of the more common injuries. Foam rolling helps too.

Sometimes you trip and fall. A few summers ago, I was running across the sidewalk and my toe caught a sprinkler head. I started to fly and knew that it wasn't going to be a good ending. Time passes so slowly when you're going to hurt yourself. All I could think about is, "my teeth!" and I turned my head as I landed on the ground. Ugh. I got up on my hands and knees. A car stopped to ask me if I was ok, and I waved him off. By the way, I did finish the run. Bloody knees and all.


The last humbler is the biggest one of all. There will be people in your life who aren't impressed with all your running and your accomplishments. Maybe it's jealousy or maybe they just don't care. Or maybe it's you? There's nothing like indifference to bring a runner back down to earth. My dad always used to say "when you're as great as me, it's hard to be humble". Tongue in cheek of course, but something to keep in mind.

No matter what it is, just when you think you've got this running thing, something happens to remind you that you're just a mere mortal. I think it's running's way of making you appreciate the gift that is running. It's important to set realistic expectations for yourself. Not every run is going to be awesome. Be grateful for those good runs. When you're having a tough time out there on the road, remind yourself of a good run. And keep it humble.



What keeps you humble?

I'm linking up with DebRuns' Wednesday Word link up! Be sure to head over to her blog and see what everyone else has to say about this week's work, humble.


85 comments :

  1. I like to say that running humbles me, but it also congratulates me. Because it does--it takes but it also gives. It shows you that the world isn't perfect, you are not perfect, but that you are capable of so much more than you thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right. Running teaches me so much.

      Delete
  2. My kids humble me because they're never impressed!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've share all of those humbling experiences. The worst, for me, was when I fell on the trail once. I cyclist passed me so fast and out of nowhere, so much that he scared me and made me lose my footing. I supermaned face first onto the pavement. Banged up my knees, elbows and chin. The worst thing was the biker never even knew it. And I just got myself back up and dusted off and had to run 4 more miles home with blood dripping off me. Definitely humbling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was probably going so fast, he had no clue! Glad you were ok!

      Delete
  4. This is so wonderful! I think being humbled by something can be a sign of respect. Respect for the task at hand and the dedication to stick to it. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great statement! You are so right. We can never take running for granted, that's for sure!

      Delete
  5. I'm with you on the humidity & overuse injury thing - unfortunately. I guess we get cocky (which still may have more to do with next week's word).

    The one & only time I went flying - well twice in one run - yeah, I finished too. What the heck are you going to do when you're still 5 miles from your hotel?

    My Annapolis half is truly the one & only time I hit the wall & best as I can figure it was back to our friends heat & humidity. I fueled well (even tho I really didn't want to) & hydrated well, but lime you, I have never been that slow in a race. Which coming from me is saying something!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no glory in quitting, right? Even after a fall. If nothing's broken, I say just keep going and try to salvage some dignity!

      Delete
  6. Running in NC in the summer is humbling!! Until this past Saturday, I have felt like I was slogging miles and not getting anywhere. It will all pay off on that first cool day! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the heat and humidity are my top humblers for sure! But you're right, it all pays off in the cooler temps!

      Delete
  7. Every day is a new run, and that definitely keeps me humble; it's crazy how I can feel so confident one day and then completely question everything the next. I love it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the truth! Every day is a new run...love that!

      Delete
  8. Running definitely keeps us humble, and I feel like the best lessons in humility have been learned while out on a run. Humidity strikes my ego down every year, too :)

    I hate when I trip and fall on a run (thankfully, it's typically on a trail run/race where the only witnesses are other runners). When there are people around that say "oh my gosh, are you okay?" I jump up and say yes right away before I even know if I am or not, because I'm embarrassed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And then you get up and get going again. As if nothing happened. "It's just a scratch..."

      Delete
  9. I respect marathon runners! I've don't a half but don't think I'll ever do a full. That humbles me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never done a full either! I bet we could do it though!!!! :)

      Delete
    2. You both could do it! If I can, anyone can. Seriously!

      Delete
  10. Some days are like torture! Other days effortless. Running is such a great sport! We all need humbling once in a while - but I wish those code brown's wouldn't happen so much! Too much for me lately, I've actually said prayers to make it home in time. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I plan my routes accordingly...you just never know when you may need to stop!

      Delete
    2. Or I guess big trees work too! :) HA! Thankfully I've never had to stop on the street.

      Delete
  11. Love this!! Just keep moving!! I am preparing for my first full in 13 years this fall - Richmond - and it's been so inspiring to read about your journey. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep me posted about your progress! I'm always excited to read about other people's training and journeys!

      Delete
  12. LOVE this post Wendy! SO many things keep me humble!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Code brown!! LOL. I usually get a side stitch on my first run after a half marathon. Weird. I just figure that muscle is tired. My husbands calls it life balancing out...but just when you think you've got everything together, the rug is pulled out from under you. I guess we should embrace the rug pull.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rug pull is running's way of humbling, I think. Reminding us that we're not invincible!

      Delete
  14. Your description of tripping and falling was PERFECT! I had a humbling tumble a little more than a year ago and no, I did not run home from it, but limped my bloody self the 1/4 mile back to my house. And the first thing I thought of was my teeth! They were mostly fine, but I still have scars from that sucker. Thinking of that keeps me humble every time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always try to keep an eye on the ground, but sometimes I get in the zone and don't pay attention. That's when I wipe out...

      Delete
  15. Running in definitely humbling. Like you said, just when you think you've got it...

    What kept me humble was my exercise induced asthma. Even though I took up to three different "preventative" meds, plus carried an inhaler, I never knew when the asthma would strike and try to knock me down. So, even after a lot of marathon experience, I could run under 3:30 in one race, then over 4 hours in the next. It is very humbling to train so hard for something then have the results taken out of your hands (or feet lol). Can't run if you can't breathe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, you can't do much if you can't breathe!!! I always say that to the parents of my asthmatic patients who obsess about other things when they need to prioritize managing their child's asthma!

      Delete
  16. Heat/humidity get me every time....I just know that I can't do long distances in it....so I never look for summer races.... Side stitches, GI issues... I have all that as well... I'm really trying to pay attention to my body and take notes on a bad run on what may have caused it .... But a bad run is always much better than no run...a bad race better than not having raced... it's all life lessons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've gotten better with the heat and humidity over the years, but I know going into it that there will not be a PR! I need to learn to better pace myself, for sure.

      Delete
  17. We think alike. Read my post :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Heat and humidity humble me, as well. So tough to run in those conditions! Also - love the Monty Python GIF!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's only one of my favorite movies of all time!

      Delete
  19. So with you on the injuries keeping you humble. They come right out of nowhere too. You think yea I got this race, then boom a nagging pain....

    ReplyDelete
  20. Heat and humidity...very humbling. Injury is very humbling. it is amazing how it can change how you feel about yourself in weak moments, but runners are tough, right. We just keep trying to find a way to keep moving. I sure have learned though, just because you accomplish something once, it doesn't mean you can do it again.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great post! Heat and humidity humble me every time. Also proper hydration. If I haven't drank enough I'll definitely want to die halfway through the race!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love this. I agree with others that the heat/humidity can definitely be humbling. I got THE WORST side stitch on my first big race too. Those are just no fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought I had moved past side stitches but apparently not...

      Delete
  23. Definitely the heat and humidity humble me, as do hills every Tuesday morning!

    Thanks for linking up!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ok I so needed this! I sprained my ankle a couple weeks ago and it has been so humbling!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh I know all too well how injuries can keep you humble! -M

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think all sports are humbling! You never know what the day will bring and how your body will cooperate or not. Nice post!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Running in the heat is definitely humbling! I've been in some tough spots on runs, mostly due to the heat (headache and being hot are misery). Just like you though, I tend to keep chugging along. I guess runners are a crazy, tough bunch (maybe too much at times). Ha.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great reminders! Injuries are definitely humbling especially when paired with others not understanding that you are injuries and miss being back in your element.

    ReplyDelete
  29. oh the humbling! My first and still only marathon humbled the crap out of me. I did so good and then and just couldn't get over the wall, those last 4 miles were the hardest miles I have ever ran physically and mentally.
    I don't often have gut issues, but now and then oh man! I have lost a few socks to having to hide in the bushes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never thought about using socks for that purpose! Thank you for that!

      Delete
  30. I appreciate your honesty, and I sincerely wish more peeps (with or without running pages) were as honest. We all need to be reminded that we are human, and being a runner (fast or slow, experienced or not) does not change that. It's frustrating to be around those who constantly brag about all their achievements...them remain silent when something goes wrong. OK, rant over :-) Thanks for another insightful post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm all about not feeling like "its just me". The people I hang with are similar.... :P

      Delete
  31. Life and my children keep me humble. Daily. When it comes to my running and fitness... my heart rate monitor keeps me humble. :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Non runners that have no interest in running/runners are very humbling. What? You're not impressed? Sure you must be! Very humbling is a race/goal you've announced to the world and was unable to achieve. It happens people. Note to self: get over it. Well said Wendy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully I won't have that kind of humbling this fall with my big marathon goal. But that's the risk you take putting it out there!

      Delete
  33. Running has humbled me more times than I can count, and I'm sure it's not done with me yet! Nature of the beast and accepting it is the first step!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great post! Marathon running has humbled me for sure, I ran my first last year, NYC and based on my training and my windy 20 miler I was def gonna hit 415-430. Marathon day conditions were less than ideal with 30-40mph, I did but in 4:49. I had always said I would only want to run one marathon but after running my first I knew I had to run another,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what happened to me. And here I go with #3! Altho last year was so amazing, that I don't think I'll be able to best the experience!

      Delete
  35. Running is very humbling! It reminds me just how good or not good I am. It reminds me when I have had to much fun the night before and I decide to run that was not a good decision dummy :) LOL! I think my hubby has a way of keeping me humble to, he just doesn't get as excited as I do :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wendy, I LOVE your gifs. And yes, wow is running humbling. I've had injuries and terrible races and now trying to get back into any kind of groove postpartum seems like the hardest thing in the world. Luckily I have memories of those truly great runs when I've felt amazing to keep me going - so I can get back to one of those.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you will! I've been in your shoes with two babies and abdominal surgery. It's slow coming back but I always have come back!

      Delete
  37. I think staying home with my boys is humbling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember those days! And having teenagers? The eye rolling? Humbling.

      Delete
  38. I think people who are indifferent to my accomplishments keep me humble. But, I'm glad they do though, because I'd hate to be one of those insufferable, not humble people lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those people are strangely the closest people to me. Keeps me humble, for sure!

      Delete
  39. Such a great reminder that these things happen no matter how long or how fast you run! I think a lot of newbies get discouraged and it always helps to know these things happen to everyone. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, running is an equal opportunity humbler...

      Delete
    2. Running is definitely humbling. It continues to keep humble me time and time again, between injures and my GI tract. You never know what to expect. Becoming a parent is also very humbling.

      Delete
    3. Parenting is humbling in a whole other way! Ay!

      Delete
  40. I am finally catching up on the blog world (crazy week). I chuckled a bit at the bloody knees. I have marine corps marathon photos of me running with a bloody knee. I think I tripped over a pretzel crumb...have no clue why I fell down. Good post...there are always occasions that bring us back down to earth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! Just when you think you've got it together, running is there to remind you otherwise!

      Delete
  41. I had the same experience as you in my first marathon in NYC. And for the same reason (heat). I'm really scared about Chicago being hot this year! I really hope it's not!

    ReplyDelete