It was such a beautiful day for a run yesterday, the air was crisp and the sun was warm but not too hot as it has been for the past week. I figured I’d go get in 4-5 comfortable miles in. I had procrastinated my run as usual. I had to drink my coffee, eat, digest and wait for the perfect time to head out. I had to wait until it was warm enough but not too warm. It takes skill to have all these factors line up perfectly. Haha! By the time I was finally get going my daughter Erika is shouting at me to quit annoying her and go already!! I go, slowly at first. Gotta do a systems check. Feet feel good? Check! Legs? Check! Breathing? Yep, it all feels good! This takes about the first mile before I settle in and just run. As I get into my rhythm my mind usually starts to run too but in its own direction. Today I started thinking about why I haven’t accomplished any “long” runs since my half marathon (a long run to me being 8 or more miles). Well, it’s because after my half marathon I told myself that I was going to take it easy and do what I wanted to do. Like, if I wanted to run only 4 miles then that’s all I’d do! Or, if I wanted to walk today instead of run, then walking it is! My training got pushed to the side and comfort zone took its place. The excuses for not doing my “long run” piled up, It’s too hot! It’s too humid! I really don’t have the time today! I just don’t feel like it! Today I realized I was just going through the motions. I had forgotten about how I would tell myself before each run that “I am running today for all those who cannot, who won’t, for all those who want to but for whatever reason can’t”. I also realized that I had accomplished my goal and did not replace it with the next one. That was the biggest factor to me to keep going when I wanted to quit. I knew I’d never finish my half marathon if I didn’t hit my mileage goals for each training day.
I was processing all of this during my run and I unintentionally ran further than I had intended. My 4 miles became 5 and I wasn’t ready to quit yet. I was running behind the mall by our house, behind a yoga/workout studio called The Space. The back door to the studio is open and as I run by I can hear the instructor on the microphone say, almost as if she knew I was running by and as if she knew where all the thoughts in my head were going, “REMEMBER, IT TAKES NO COURAGE TO RUN THE SAME SPEED YOUR WHOLE LIFE!” These words came billowing out the back door of the studio and slammed into my head like she knew I needed to hear them! Wow!! I realized that in the days since completing my half marathon I had reverted back to the same comfortable speed. No courage. No challenge. No growth. Just back into the ole’ comfort zone. Well, after hearing those words I definitely couldn’t stop running yet, I had to keep going. I ran 6 miles that day. Still, not a “long run” but certainly further than I had intended. When I checked my timing on that run I saw that I actually ran faster than I usually do!
I will continue to run as long as I am able for those who cannot or who won’t. I will never take for granted my ability to run because I too have been one of those who for a period of time physically couldn’t AND I have been one of those who never thought for a heartbeat I would ever call myself a “runner!” I have had the courage to do the things I thought were impossible to me. I have had the courage to do the hard stuff and accomplish my goals. I will set the next big goal whether it be another half marathon or something different that equally challenges my courage. I hope that in my pursuit I can encourage others to set and accomplish their goals. Running has never come easy to me and running has taught me so very much about myself and what I can accomplish. Maybe your thing isn’t running but a different challenge that takes courage to face and perseverance to accomplish. I challenge you to go out and start it! Or finish it if you’ve already started! Have the courage to go a different speed and get out of the “comfort zone” that maybe you’ve been in for too long. Then, when you accomplish that goal, revel in it for a bit, but then set the next one!