So I post a lot about running. And what I share is usually the amazing stuff. The beauty of the places I am exploring or the freedom I feel when I hit my stride and everything is moving and flowing with ease.
But not every run is easy. And I think it’s important that I share that side of running as well.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, things don’t move and flow with ease. Sometimes it’s just plain hard work.
Today was one of those days. Even the first few steps felt a chore. And within a mile the negative self-talk started…
“You call yourself a runner. You are supposed to be running in Costa Rica soon. How are you ever going to keep up if you are struggling through even a mile!”
By mile 3 things I felt defeated. And so I sat cold and shivering on a park bench and had a long hard chat with myself.
Did I really suck? Should I go home now? Should I pull out of my Costa Rica trip? Or is it okay that every run is not perfect? Is it okay that I am just not feeling it today?
The answer was of course I shouldn’t give up. That it’s okay that it is hard. But it is not okay to quit just because it gets hard.
So I struck myself a deal. I decided that I could run as slow as I like. But I would prove to myself that I can keep going – even when it does get hard. I decided that I could stop whenever I liked for a break. But then I would keep on going.
And so I did.
For possibly the slowest four hours of my life I kept moving.
When I struggled to make it up a hill. I stopped for a moment and then I kept on going.
When it started raining, I just zipped my jacket a little higher and kept on going.
When my stomach started growling and my hands got numb, I stopped for a sandwich and hot coffee. And then I kept on going.
When the sun went down and I could barely see the ground beneath me, I kept on going.
When I hit my intended mileage and was still four miles from home, I kept on going.
I know that some of you will roll your eyes and say I am a massochist. But that’s not what this was about.
I do believe that life is too short to do things that bring you no joy. And I have gone to a lot of trouble to focus my life around things that make me feelgood. From work, to home, to health and exercise – I go out of my way to make even the most boring things fun and exciting.
Today wasn’t fun and exciting. But in a way I wasn’t expecting, it made me feelgood.
I feelgood that I didn’t let fear and comparison talk me into quitting. I feelgood that pushing through today will make it that little bit easier next time I go for a run. I feelgood that even though I may not be the fastest or fittest person on my Costa Rica trip… I will still be able to keep going.
And I especially feelgood that once again, the things I’ve learnt through running, are not just about running.
Big thanks to Lisanne and Gray whose belief in me gives me the courage to believe in myself.