It takes a certain amount of tenacity to be a runner. Running, especially distance running, is a mental as well as a physical game.
There are some amazing stories about people who overcome great challenges to run.
I am not one of those people; this is not one of those stories.
The only thing I have to overcome is my own tendency to self sabotage.
But I am very good at self sabotage.
March is usually when I start to run more, to go from the sporadic whenever-the-weather-allows running of winter to regularly running three to four times a week. This year I did a 5K early in the month and then wanted to spend the rest of March on the couch buried in blankets with a mug of ice cream…and maybe another of coffee…and definitely a third of vodka…and some pizza…or maybe pizza rolls….
And while I didn’t totally give into those urges I did make a lot of excuses not to run.
Two weeks ago my post winter/pre spring inertia was at it’s peak. I wasn’t working and didn’t have much going on that week, yet I only ran one time the entire (Thursday to Thursday) week.
Each day I told myself I should run, tried to convince myself that I wanted to run…and then I didn’t.
Coincidentally the whole week I was in a slightly bad, irritated mood.
These are the times I really should be running but find it hard to get myself out there and do it. I know a run will make me feel better, more calm, more focused, happier but I still resist.
By Thursday I had had it with myself.
Enough of this ridiculous self-induced crabbiness, it was time to break out of the haze of laziness and go for a run….but I just didn’t have time that day.
No, really, I had stuff going on and legitimately did not have time.
I did, however, make a plan and set some goals to get myself back on track.
Right now I’m just aiming to get in at least ten miles a week. See, I told you, not very inspirational.
I’m just striving for consistency for starters.
I decided my weeks would go from Friday morning to Friday morning to kind of match my week on/week off work schedule. On my non-working weeks this really shouldn’t be a problem. On my work weeks I’ll have to put some effort into meeting even this small goal. It’s one of downsides of working third shift.
Last week, a work week, I met my goal….but just barely.
I ran that Friday morning and then Tuesday evening. Wednesday evening I really wanted to run. It was sunny and warm. I really wanted to run.
But I was averaging five hours of sleep a day for the 6th day in a row. I was just too tired.
So instead I resolved to run right after work Thursday morning. For some additional motivation I decided I’d go to my favorite State Park.
I used to go to this park at least twice a week for a couple years. I run faster there, even when I’m tired, and still end up feeling refreshed and renewed.
Running there is like coming home after a long trip; it had been quite a while.
When Thursday morning rolled around it was NOT warm and sunny. It was 33 and overcast with a chance of rain. A few weeks ago thirty-three would’ve been warm. When it was sixty degrees and sunny just days ago thirty-three is cold.
On top of that I had sunny & warm in my head when I grabbed running gear the night before. Instead of my usual cool weather layers, hat, gloves, & whatnot I had long shorts, a long sleeve tee, & my unlined water resistant jacket.
At this point my resolve was waivering.
I told myself I could go home, put on warm clothes, and run around there but I knew that wouldn’t happen.
I thought about going to the store first and buying a pair of sweatpants but I’d likely end up wandering around the store until I was out of time.
Then I said No to the excuses and overcame my usual self-sabotaging tendencies.
I told myself to suck it up & run.
And I did.
And it was ….cold and almost miserable.
Less than half a mile in the paved path suddenly looked like this:
Just after the mile & a half mark it started to drizzle.
But I did it, four miles of it.
Somehow it still ended up being a little faster & a little more satisfying than my usual run.
There’s nothing quite like coming home.