Breaking My Stride

I knew what I wanted. I had pictured tears of relief and pride at the finish line of my first half marathon, but my eyes stayed dry. My words were salty instead. “If I ever talk about doing that again, punch me in the face.”

I also muttered obscenities regarding the measurement accuracy of the infinite last tenth of a mile. Several of my toes burned, a painful reminder of my idiotic decision to walk on the beach in my running shoes the day before.

But mostly, I felt an exhaustion that said, two hours, 34 minutes, and 27 seconds is too long to do anything not involving popcorn or a horizontal position. I didn’t want to quit running, but I wanted to be faster, to release my inner cheetah. While I’d never run a pace even close, I set a goal of a 30-minute 5K.

On my speed-work days, I worried my inner cheetah was a tortoise. But the race I’d chosen was perfect:  on the trail where I usually run, night-owl friendly start time (11:30am!), and fall weather (I’m a delicate flower).

Keeping my pace felt effortless the entire first half. At the turnaround point, I thought, I have this. Then I learned something new about my trail. It’s not completely flat. The second mile and a half was all uphill. I’d never noticed the incline before, but pushing this foreign pace made it obvious.

Running began to feel like wading through mud. I wondered if I’d be able to finish, let alone beat my goal time. As I wrestled with myself, I noticed my husband on the side of the trail, my dog sitting at his side. I hadn’t expected to see them until the finish line. Chuck’s tail started wagging when he saw me approach. I felt a burst of adrenaline and my pace quickened. I prepared to give them a wave as I passed. I had no time to spare.

Then Chuck darted right into my path, plopped himself down, and looked up expectantly at me for the obligatory doting.

Although I did have to slow down to avoid crushing my dog, I didn’t have to stop, shouldn’t have stopped. But I couldn’t resist my fluffy muffin.

I missed my goal by 28 seconds. I like to blame it on Chuck. He broke-a my stride.


Seriously, could you resist that face?

This post was inspired by the RemembeRED writing prompt: to write, in 400 words or less, about an unfulfilled goal beginning with the words, “I knew what I wanted.”

I’ve run four more 5K races since Chuck’s anti-Matthew Wilder interference and the trend is going in the wrong direction. I bought Run Less, Run Faster since I want to run faster and I can also totally get behind running less. I’m hoping it helps.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

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22 Responses to “Breaking My Stride”

  1. bearrunner
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    What a cute dog

  2. reagan
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    I like this. okay.. you’ve inspired me again. (thanks)..

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      Thanks, what a lovely compliment!

  3. Kathleen
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    That did NOT go where I expected it to! LOL. Nicely done!

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      Thanks! Couldn’t resist sharing this story. So close to the goal, but who really cares when your dog is so cute!

  4. Katie
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    That face would be impossible to resist. I blame my dogs when I am running late. Chuck looks like he has a double coat.

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      Chuck is made entirely of fluff.

      Chuck’s pretty pokey too–he likes to plop down in the middle of walks and just look around. Of course it’s his fault when I’m late!

  5. Krista
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    That face is well worth the extra 28 seconds! And what a crazy awesome improvement on your running time! 30 minutes? Seriously? That’s just so incredible.

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

      Thanks! I’m always looking for ways to save time and running is no exception. At a nice slow speed I can run for a long time, but I dream of covering distances in less time.

  6. Lance
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Before I read your epilogue, that Matt Wilder tune played in my head the whole time.

    You’re as admirable. Half maras are awesome. I’ve only run 10Ks (6 of them).

    funny and well done, Ma’am

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      When I get a song stuck in my head, it’s trouble. I’ve been singing Break My Stride for days, ever since Chuck and I accidentally got in a runner’s way on a narrow pedestrian bridge at the park. I felt bad that the runner had to stop to let us pass and for some reason the phrase that came to mind was “we broke his stride.”

      I think that’s why this story popped into my head first when I read this prompt. Hopefully the song won’t stay with you long…catchy little thing though, eh?

      I’ve only run one 10K and honestly, I thought it was pretty hard. 5Ks are short enough to push yourself the whole time, half marathons are long enough that you have to take it a little easy (at least I do!), but I wasn’t sure what I should be aiming for when I ran a 10K.

  7. cinquecentoproject
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    I couldn’t resist such a fluffy face – no kidding!

    Love the story.

    The runner in me is curious about your training and how your speed is “going in the wrong direction” – I hope you post about your current training and how the book changes your training habits.

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      Thanks, Jill. I searched my photos for awhile trying to find a good representation of the look he gives you when he wants some lovin’.

      I definitely plan to write more about my quest to run faster. In short, coming so close to my goal back in fall 2010 (when this story takes place) probably had more to do with just having run a half marathon a few months earlier than the lame speed training I attempted. I think 3 miles just felt short back then.

      In 2011, I ran 4 5Ks and each of my times were longer than my PR of 30:28 and each one took me a little longer than the one before (I’m getting slower!). In my defense, I did NO speed work last year. Oops.

  8. jesterqueen1
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    But who could resist a face like that? Besides, Half a minute is like nothing!

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      Enough strangers stop to dote on him that he is now conditioned to expect everyone we pass to stop and pet him. He now plops down most of the time anyone approaches, looks up at them, and fully expects them to stop and coo over him. When the person just keeps going, I always feel bad for Chuck. He seems confused, as if thinking, “what the hell, don’t you see how adorable I am?!?”

  9. Nancy C
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    I could not resist that face. Oh my goodness.

    And it is all about the journey, right?

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      I could see the huge clock at the finish line and I felt like I was moving in slow motion when I realized there was no way but just how close I was. But I was upset for maybe a second or two. Chuck’s worth it.

  10. angela
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Chuck is totally worth the 28 seconds! So stinking cute, seriously, and I love that he just couldn’t help himself when he saw you.

    I relate to this so much, though I have the opposite reaction at the end of races and think I should sign up for more. I think it’s the free bagels or something 😉

    Let’s figure out the speed thing together :)

    • logyexpress
      Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      Yeah, I’m weird…I prefer the training to the actual race. I think a big part of that is I am NOT a morning person and most races start way before I want to be awake. I do enjoy my post race carbs though! Here’s to meeting our speed goals!

  11. Andrea
    Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Oh that dog is ADORABLE!

    I will say as someone who just did my first C25K walk/job thing last night, you are very inspiring and motivating! Esp for someone like me. So even though you missed your goal – you still rocked it! Nice to meet you through WOE. 😉

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Thanks Andrea! Good luck with C25K, it’s how I started running too! It’s great and it’s customizable–if you don’t feel ready to move on, you can repeat days or even weeks. I took a few weeks longer than the planned number of weeks before I ran 3 miles without stopping. But it’s a great way to keep increasing the amount of running time.

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