Bad runner, BAD!

So. . . I last left y’all contemplating how I could #1 – have fun and #2 – manage to squeeze in a trail run while camping with some new peeps while not being seen as that girl.

The drive up was peaceful – a windy, narrow dirt road that reminded me of one of my favorite spots to run in Umstead Park. I could feel my shoulders sink in relaxation as I blissfully sighed and pictured myself running along the road.

Weeelllllllll, things didn’t go quite as I had planned.

The air was frigid, and we knew rain was coming at camp. But the atmosphere was one of full-blown vacation mode. We were totally tucked away from it all, and I’ve got to say that it felt really good – liberating, really – to be out of cell phone reception for a while. I even got a few pics of the beautiful stream scenery not 50 yards away from where we all slept:

So pretty!

So pretty!

Not too long after setting up camp and joining everybody, I was sharing in a good laugh. Aaaaaand then, the drinks started pouring. I failed miserably at goal #2. Not only did I not get in a run while out there, I was totally that girl. . . Um, in a complete other sense, if you catch my drift. But if you don’t, I can tell you that I completely and utterly accomplished goal #1, have fun. The parts I can remember were a blast!

Let’s do a little ‘I should have known better’ math, shall we?

Very little – two protein shakes, an apple, and some grape tomatoes – in my stomach (I was waiting for dinner to bring out my lentils while everyone else enjoyed beef brisket and tons of delicious, very non-diet cleanse approved junk food)

+ Not consuming a drop of alcohol for at least two weeks while cleansing (with the exception of this trip, clearly)

+ SERIOUS loss of sleep the night before for last minute trip preparations, of course

= A recipe for disaster!

I’ll spare you the details and tell you instead that, for the most part, I got a good night’s sleep! The windy mountain road on the way back to the highway in the morning wasn’t all that swell, but the off-and-on napping once we hit the highway made up for it. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling much up for running of any distance on Sunday afternoon when I got home.

Sadly, this wasn’t the ‘epic runner fail’ part.

The FAIL came late Sunday afternoon when I was feeling TONS better and back to myself. The weather was drizzly still in Chapel Hill, and it probably would have actually felt really great during a run. I told this to myself many times as I sat on the couch and stared out the window, laptop resting on my lap, music blaring.

At that point, I just didn’t feel like running. So, I didn’t. Fail.

I debated whether or not to write about this in my next blog post, but I think it’s a hard lesson learned that needs to be shared. I’m not proud that I wasn’t more conservative on the trip and paid the price, but I am also human and not at all afraid to point out my own flaws. They serve as hart-hitting reminders of what not to do in the future.

I thought about it, though, and remembered that I miscalculated and actually started in the second week of my marathon training plan for the Pikes Peak Ascent last year. And, I hit my secret goal – the one that’s much faster than what I share with everybody else – too. And, Melissa had followed a much more rigorous training plan this year for the Boston Marathon, including more frequent and more intense speed work.

I definitely have a good running base despite my weekend mishap. So, maybe I could cut myself a little slack here. So long as I don’t slip up again for the next three months and three weeks, that is.

Voila! Just like that, I was back to full-force training mentality today when I woke up. And, just like an old friend with true, mad, deep, unconditional love for moi, running welcomed me back earlier this evening with open arms as if to say, “I missed you this weekend! I didn’t mind sleeping in, though. Now let’s get back to it.”

Much like my first training run last week, the air was cool and inviting. I felt comfortable and relaxed, and I was surprised at my pace yet again.

The best of friends will always have you back, even if you slip up here and there.

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., studies child development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a long-time road and trail runner. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

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