Determination Pays Off

5 Apr

This time, I was determined.

I was determined to drag my ass out of bed when my alarm went off, no matter how tired I felt, and go for a run.

I was determined to go for a real run – i.e. a road run – instead of wimping out because of the dark and the cold and going to the gym for an unsatisfying treadmill run.

I was determined not to make excuses, not to tell myself that I was too tired or too cold, not to let my mind convince me that the kids were going to wake up and create havoc the second I closed the front door behind me.

The first part of my plan, the waking up part, was easy. Through a series of nocturnal wanderings, I had found myself on the sofabed with the kids squished up on either side of me. I had slept uncomfortably, in an uncomfortable position, barely able to move as I was sandwiched between two dead-weight kids. Although I was tired, getting up and moving around was actually a relief.

I got into my running clothes, fumbled around in the dark for my training watch, and downed a bottle water.

My plan almost got derailed at that point when James woke up crying, saying that he had had a bad dream. I got him some milk and managed to convince him that I didn’t, in fact, need the longest sword in the world in order to slay the monster, and he went back to sleep. For a moment I hesitated: should I really go for a run knowing that my child was in distress?

I checked on James again: he was sleeping soundly, with not a sign of distress anywhere.

I looked for gloves, failed. I looked for a hat, failed. I looked for my lightweight running jacket, failed.

Hmmmm… Do I stay or do I go?

Go, I decided, reasoning that I had run plenty of times in colder conditions without all of that stuff. To borrow a phrase from a book I once read: What am I, woman or walrus?

OK, shoes on, music cued, out the door. I felt cold, but I knew that I would warm up quickly. I started the music, pressed “start” on my watch, and began running down the road.

For the first few minutes, all I wanted to do was stop. I felt stiff and had no rhythm, like a machine that hasn’t been oiled since the start of the Industrial Revolution. I kept going because a simple rule that I have: run for just one mile. If you still feel like crap, turn around and run back, and that way you will have at least got in a two-mile run. Chances are, though, that you will feel just fine after one mile and you’ll be able to keep going.

And sure enough, the first mile came and went, and I kept going without even having to make a conscious decision to do so. At some point during the second mile, I suddenly realized that the stiffness had disappeared and that I was actually enjoying myself.

Due to time constraints, I could not get out for a long run this morning. I had to make do with about 4 miles. But still, it was great. After the run I felt alive and invigorated, ready to face the day. And as always when I run despite not initially really feeling like it, I felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

I feel that I have overcome a small psychological barrier that I had put up over the course of this winter. I have been telling myself for weeks I cannot run on the road early in the morning because it’s still dark. But this morning I realized that I do not have that excuse anymore. I could see just fine, I felt perfectly safe, and I even exchanged cheerful waves with a couple of other runners.

I was determined to go for my run this morning, no matter what. My determination paid off, and now I feel great!

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdharrison/2575008703)

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