Today I contracted a bad case of Slow-itis. I didn’t even see it coming. You KNOW what I’m talking about, right? Just when you think you’ve got this running thing down, you’ll go out for a run and it is just SLOW. So slow. And you can’t figure out why, on that day, your body decides to reject your past training and manages to stay in putt-putt mode for the entire workout.

Please, tell me I’m not the only one to fall victim to Unplaned Slow-itis.


I woke up this morning with cramps in my hamstrings. YEEEOUUUCH!!! I’m no stranger to the muscular seizures that can invade feet and calves, but I rarely experience hamstring cramps of such intensity. I stuck my legs up and vigorously pointed and flexed my foot, rubbed my legs and said nasty things until the pain stopped. It is not the ideal way to start the day.

After stumbling around my apartment and peeking out the window, I decided to delay the morning’s run. My legs felt distinctly heavy and a little swollen (result of this weekend’s trail running perhaps?). I hoped some coffee would help.

Finally, when I couldn’t procrastinate a moment longer, I laced up, left the apartment and crossed the street. Somehow crossing the street mentally commits me to the run. I started Phil and began running. Within the first block I knew it. I could feel it. I felt slow. Horribly, horrendously, awfully SLOW. Today, for whatever reason, my legs decided that they only had one speed. Efforts to convince, cajole, bribe or threaten them to run faster would be futile. I had contracted a case of slow-itis.

I sighed and wondered why one day we can feel like running superstars and on other days we can feel like our legs are filled with putty and are incapable of more than a shuffle. Why is that? And why can’t we anticipate it better?

I had a few options:

I could stop and turn around. I could fight it and see if I would snap out of it, or I could accept my situation and make the best of it.
So, I thought, if I’m going to have a slow day, I’m going to have the best damn slow day ever.

The slow-itis and I made it through 12 miles. I only freaked out a teensy tiny bit when I saw a mile split appear on Phil (Garmin 405) that started with the number 10. What? No, did it really take me over ten minutes to run that last mile? Granted. I was going up a VERY steep uphill climb in the woods with lots of switchbacks and we all know that Phil isn’t very accurate in switchbacks in Forest Park. But still, STILL (!!) It is hard not to feel inadquete. Instead I just concentrated on what I could do, even while running slow. I reviewed my stride. I thought about efficient way to manage hilly trails. I relaxed my shoulders.

It wasn’t a bad run, but it left a funny taste in my mouth, if that makes sense. It wasn’t satsifying and it wasn’t easy. It was just annoying. I just hope my case of Slow-itis clears up quickly. I don’t care for it one bit.

Leave a Reply