Tag Archives: pain

Worst Runs Ever

What was my worst run ever?
I get that question all the time.
And it’s funny because the sensible companion question – what was your best run ever – doesn’t get asked very often.
Which is probably a good thing because I don’t have a single answer.
But I also don’t have an answer for the worst run ever question either.
Don’t get me wrong.
I have more than enough answers…a whole collection of worst runs.
I just don’t have ONE worst run ever.
Which means I don’t have an answer.
I’ve had runs in the sun without water and runs in the snow that ended up with me on my butt.
I’ve had runs when my ego was fit as hell but I was out of shape – those never end well.
And I’ve had runs where I didn’t believe I could do what I was so obviously already doing.
I did runs by myself when I needed to be anything but alone.
And I had runs with the group when I needed those miles all to myself.
I’ve had runs started too close to an extraordinary meal.
And I had runs not started far enough away from a very suspect meal.
Cramps. Twisted ankles. Tired. Stressed. Wrong turns.
I’ve had the halfway out and halfway home bathroom emergency…without a bathroom run.
All Worst Runs Ever.
But, I also know that I learned about myself, life, running (and even what Poison Ivy can do to your bathing suit area if you are not careful) on those terrible runs.
And if I had not started those runs I wouldn’t have learned the most important lesson of all: that I can get through them.
Every run has a purpose.
Even all those worst ones.


Half is Greater Than the Whole

It was definitely not my longest. Not even close to my fastest. I didn’t hear any cheering or have any great epiphanies. I remember being scared. But I was excited too. Scared it was going to hurt. Excited that it might not.

It was my most important run.

February 4th. 1993. I was a junior in HS. It was a 1/2 mile run from my front door. That’s it. My most important run was only 800 meters long.

5 months earlier I had started my XC season with the fastest time by a NJ runner at the opening meet & that was soon followed by an invitation to the 5th Avenue Mile in NYC. I thought I may actually be a runner.

Then my foot started to hurt. Then it hurt worse. Taping it alone, icing it alone, screaming at it alone, throwing things around my room alone – it only hurt more. September would be lost.

October. Misdiagnosed – again & again. Told to take a few days off. Told to run on it again. Told it would get better. It didn’t.

November. I got mono. I got over the mono. My foot still hurt.

December. The bone scan said 4 cracks in the foot. Well, that explained the pain. And it would explain the knee high plaster cast I was put in.

It had been 5 months of knowing that every time I put my right foot on the ground it would hurt. It got to the point where I would flinch BEFORE I put my foot down. I anticipated the pain. Every. Other. Step.

The cast came off in late January.

I put on the shoes again – the shorts & the team jacket. I even put the team winter hat on. I didn’t need to. But I did it anyway. I wanted to feel like I was on the team. I wanted to feel like I had a purpose again.

Would it hurt?

I knew that I was going to start & finish this run at the same place. I knew I wouldn’t be gone long. I also knew I wouldn’t be the same when I got back.

I took a deep breath.

I know it now. I’m a runner.
You took it away. I want it back. Please. Give me this. Please.

I started down my front lawn.

It was the only run my Mom ever took a picture of. I didn’t even know it existed until she showed it to me after graduation 15 months later. Hundreds & hundreds of miles later. Miles without a flinch. State Championship miles. All American miles. So many miles.

None of them as special as this mile though.

And it was only half of one.