Thursday, April 21, 2011

Running Lessons: Listen to your gut

Because I missed my long run on the weekend, I decided last night to add an extra 16km run to my training for the week. I managed to complete it, but it wasn't pretty. 

My original plan had been to run in the direction of Shubie Park, a favourite destination, but a friend asked me to stop by her house in Halifax to consult on a kitchen renovation so I decided to run in that direction instead.  My revised route took me across the "Old MacDonald Bridge" (as the locals call it).  I had no trouble running to Halifax. However, running back was an entirely different story.

By the time I'd stopped to see my friend and run a loop around the south end of the city, dusk was approaching quickly, the wind had picked up and I was being pounded by a cold, miserable rain. At the mid-point of the bridge (which is more than a kilometre in length), my face, ears and hands were completely frozen and I was fighting to keep myself upright with the wind driving me hard against the handrail. I could feel the deck of the bridge heaving beneath me with the force of the storm, and wind howled through the tension wires overhead at a pitch that made my heart pound. 

Of course, I could have avoided all that discomfort simply by listening to my gut. Leaving my friends' house, I'd noticed the wind had picked up and it occurred to me then to alter my route and run back across the bridge sooner. Alternatively, I could have hopped a bus for the return trip later. I certainly thought about it. But, no. Stubbornly determined not to cut my run short and prove to myself I was a "real" runner, I ignored my gut and stuck to the route I had planned. 

Fortunately, in the end I made it back to my apartment safely - cold, wet, and tired but none the worse for wear. I even completed the distance in a respectable time. But running across the bridge in those conditions is not an experience I care to repeat anytime soon, so I'll definitely be paying closer attention to my gut in future. 

The bridge in the calm after the storm

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