I am a runner. However, this does not at all mean that I actually enjoy running. The truth is I dread anything over 3 miles. Considering I am now a marathon runner, and training for the next one, that would mean I don't look forward to around 75% of my runs.
Most people hate Modays. I love 'em. Sunday and Monday are my days of rest AKA no running. The day that makes me cringe is Saturday -- the day of the week I have my long runs. According to the training, every Saturday you have your highest mileage run, and each week it gets progressively longer. Today was 9 miles.
I woke up this morning and immediately felt that trepidation I associate with knowing something is ahead that really sucks. I'll be honest, I did not want to do it. I did not want to run today because I knew it would be long and I knew I wasn't going to like it. So I put it off, doing my other chores first.
I swam with the kids. I fixed the pond in the backyard. I hooked up the new entertainment system for my parents. I wrote a new chapter for the Fat Pack Mysteries. But the whole time I was looking at the clock and my sense of dread grew. It was like hearing that Jaws theme music getting closer and closer.
Their was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to in fact run the 9 miles sometime today. The training schedule I made says that I had to, so I would. With all that I had learned over the last year, one of the key things was following through on what I say I'm going to do. Finish what I start, no quitting. No backing out.
So yes, I knew I would finish my run today, but I was being dragged there kicking and screaming. It finally got late enough that I realized if didn't want to run at night with a headlamp, I had better get my butt in gear. During the run my brain did what it usually does, overthinks things and assigns meaning to what I have been struggling with.
I realized I was a long distance runner, not a hurdle jumper. Yet that was what I was doing to myself. I had been creating an unnecessary hurdle in my path that I needed to get over in order to complete my run. I needed to and would finish those 9 miles today no matter what. So did my complaining and dread make getting that job done any easier? No. It made it that much harder to get my little running tights out the door.
The more I thought about it the more I realized that I made hurdles in alot of aspects of my life. I'm a finisher now, so I never quit. But that doesn't mean I don't moan and murmur and begrudge all the effort. Which is stupid and counter productive. If I'm going to do something anyway, wouldn't you think I would want to make it as easy as possible?
I finished the 9 miles today with relative ease, but it still wasn't particularly fun. But the feeling I got after my-- way too high tech for me --watch beeped, signaling the end of the workout, reminded me why I do it in the first place. To feel that finisher's high. That sense of accomplishment that I get after doing something hard. That is the sledgehammer that helps me slam through the other hurdles in my life. I can look back on hard things I've done and then look forward to obstacles in front of me and say "You're nothing. See what I did?"
Today helped me see that life, by it's very nature, puts up way too many hurdles in front of me. I really don't need to be adding any more of my own. So hopefully next Saturday I will wake up and knock the 10 mile run out of the way. Then I can get to the good part of feeling great afterward.