About a mile into my run tonight, I started feeling a pain at the top of my right leg.

Actually, that’s not right. At first, it just felt tight. That turned to a pain, and got sharper and sharper by the minute.

It was warm tonight, warmer than any day I had run on since I was in the Army, I guess. I didn’t have any water with me, so I detoured towards my house to get a drink before continuing.

And as it turned out, that was all for the day. I came back outside after getting the drink and started off down the street again, but with that stop whatever muscle it was in my groin turned from annoyed to pissed. I hobbled back to the house, threw a minor tantrum and grabbed the frozen peas for an uncomfortable icing session.

* * *

I took that picture tonight, after my fit. I sat on the landing of the stairway up to the second floor, staring at my shoes. Thinking.

Actually, not thinking. Listening to the voice, the one that wonders what the hell a fat 45-year-old is doing trying to run 13.1 miles.

And on days like these, I don’t have an answer to that question.

There are lots of reasons why running is a good idea for me — to be less fat, to be less susceptible to the heart issues my family has experienced, to spend time with friends, to do something I’ve come to enjoy since I started in October — but on the bad days, I don’t have a response to the voice when it says “You can’t do it.”

And what can I say? I don’t know if I can do it. I haven’t run thirteen miles. Most of the time it doesn’t seem terribly long, but on days like today it seems like an insurmountable number. Thirteen miles. I’ve managed to get past seven miles twice — with some walk breaks — most recently last Saturday. This weekend, with the help of my coaching staff, I’ll try to get to eight. And while I probably won’t be in the same frame of mind then, at the moment, even eight seems like an impossible distance.

I know — runners have bad days. I usually can shrug off a bad run, but once in a while, I spend too much time listening to that voice. And I find myself staring at my shoes while I sit on the stairs.

I can deal with a pulled muscle. But I look at the calendar and see that I have a 10K in about two and a half weeks and a half-marathon in just over six. I don’t have time for doubts. I shouldn’t listen to the voice.

But I’m not sure how to make it go away.



  1. Crappy, i know that if you want 8, You’ll get 8. When I played Europa League soccer in Europe i ran 15 km in the morning and 15 at nights after practice. That was 10 years. I have trouble just getting to 5 miles some days because of knee and ankle problems. Point is. I know you and the type of person you are. Whatever doubt is in your mind you’ll overcome because thata the kind of person you are.


  2. Hang in there Uncle Crappy! Most I had ever run before my first half was 9 miles and while the last the 4.1 miles was not a whole lot of fun, I finished my first 13.1! Even if you have to run/walk on race day, you will finish and look back on how far you have come in the last 6 months! You can do it!!


  3. I can’t recall exactly what the motivational words were that I liked when I was training, but the gist was: starting is a hell of a lot harder than finishing. So you have the hardest part behind you, well behind you! I hope your injury heals up quickly so you can have a good long run on Saturday!


  4. My new motto, it pertains to most everything in life.
    “Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.” Simple. Redirect your thoughts to how far you have come. It is amazing what you have accomplished in 5 months. Think of the health benefits, the speed you have picked up, the strength you’ve developed( go ahead flex in the mirror). You have moved forward the only thing keeping you back is your mind; and okay your groin. Run ice, repeat. You have over come the worst part, starting.
    Now finish this goal and set new ones. Go Mike.


  5. Hi! You can totally do the 13.1! 6 weeks is plenty of time to prepare. And, yes, you had a bad run day. Okay, I’m not a running expert but a few things came to mind –

    1) As the weather gets hotter, you might need to tweak some things. Think about what you ate and fluid intake (water, not beer) the day before. My body is pretty sensitive when it comes to dehydration.

    2) Maybe you need some fluids as you run. Is it possible to stash some waters along your route? I’m an annoying person who runs with a bottle of water that i sip on occasionally while running-is this possible?

    3) I’ve never been an energy chewy/gummy person (I have my bottle of water) but maybe ask what others think about adding a chew (they’re nasty) while you run. That being said, some advice I got about distance running long ago, was that don’t change your routine on race day. If you drink Gatorade, stick with it- don’t switch to Powerade. If you like the gummies, train with them…but don’t just try one in the middle of your (our) 10k/Half – you’ll get a stomach ache.

    Anyway, you CAN do this half. You have been running for what? 6/7 months come race day? Your body knows what it needs to do! xo


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