Stretching after a run that was shorter than my coach subscribed.

In Zombies, Run! season three, I did something horrible.

I severely injured and maimed my friends while Moonchild, a researcher turned psycho-hippie, used her mind-control device on me.

Sam Yao, one of my best friends who is the radio operator at Abel … damn, I thought I killed him. Well, Runner 5, the listener’s character that in the podcast/gaming app did. (Aside: As Runner 5, listeners of the app are a government agent that eventually becomes a friend and comrade to the runners in Abel Township and New Canton, a nearby settlement in which humans live after the zombie apocalypse.)

Then in the next episode, there he was, talking to Mountain Kid 1 and me during a sunrise run along the bay. He told us about how when he was a kid, he was probably 7 or 9 — I can’t remember — there was this awesome castle-shaped birthday cake at his house.

He ate a turret, hoping no one would notice. But he noticed, so he ate more of the cake to balance it out. Eventually, he ate the whole cake. When his parents got home, they were upset. But they didn’t punish him.

While he was sick to his stomach and feeling rather sorry for himself, his mom said, “This … this feeling here is punishment enough.” I can imagine her swirling her hand in a circle while she said this, stirring all the bad feelings into one pot.

Sam told me (Runner 5) the story to describe the feeling I must have felt after hurting all my friends while doing Moonchild’s bidding. They knew I wasn’t in control of myself so they forgave me, but I did feel awful about it.

Today, was one of those days in which I tried to do the best I could, but something didn’t work out quite as planned. For a few hours, it was disastrous with frantic texts to my husband and calming words for semi-panicked kids. I knew what I had to do, but it felt like a ton of bricks just made the task seem much worse than it really was.

This feeling, right here — yes, I’m stirring the pot with my hand — felt awful. In the past, I would drink that feeling away, vow not to repeat the mistake, but probably, more than likely make it again because I forgot what I did.

And now, being a little over a month sober, the feeling sits on my heart. It doesn’t hurt as much any more, but it’s still there a few hours later. It sucks.

I also feel that way sometimes when I don’t do my training plan as given. For example, I was little under in my miles for today. I have to get one of my kids to the last summer camp of the day, but coach wanted me to get that extra .3 miles in for an even 2 miles. I knew I would be walking several miles after my run, so I just walked those miles and called it a day.

Many hours later, I still feel bad, but it’s more because my muscles feel sore, not because of my emotions. I feel like I’m cheating myself out of a complete plan, like not going that extra .3 miles will affect my running later on.

Overall, as I head into week three of my training plan, week two was embarrassing. My miles got done, but they were about as fast as I walk. It was hot and humid. I have trouble running in that kind of weather without getting sweat in my eyes and drinking a ton of water to compensate.

But in the end, it is OK to feel bad. This feeling right here (stirring again) — sore muscles, uneasiness, feeling bad that you didn’t do your best — are OK.

Repeat after me — It is OK to feel bad. If I didn’t feel bad, as Sam says in the episode about the cake, something would be really wrong with you.

As long as you learn from your mistakes, and put together another effort, you’re doing great.

The bad and good exercise days are all part of the process. They help you stay humble and hopefully work smarter and harder toward your goals.

Sam, I will always remember your story. This feeling right here (stir the pot) isn’t always comfortable, but it’s a good place to become better.