Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Most Valuable Lesson

I'm not going to spend a lot of time analyzing today's run in written form. It didn't go well, and I can't think of any reason other than my head just was not in the game. I never found any kind of rhythm, ended up walking at least as much as running, and once it became clear that I was probably going faster walking, I had a decision to make. That's what today's post is about, that decision.

I went home. Yeah, I packed it in at mile 9.5 of what should have been 12. To my credit, I did run the last half-mile or so without a break (which was my deal with myself - if I could finish strong, I could go ahead and put myself out of my misery).

While I was shuffling along after the mile 8 Gatorade break, it hit me that I was just hurting. My legs felt like lead pipes wearing concrete shoes, and suddenly I thought, "Girl, you survived your last bad run, you'll survive this. Do you want to crawl home in tears, hurting so badly that you are no good to your family for the rest of the day and possibly the weekend, or do you want to be kind to yourself?" Stopping when I did was technically only a stop about a half-mile short of last week's 10-miler. There are plenty of long runs left before the taper, and there's nothing to prove today.

Or was there something? There was, when I think about it. Moderation and I are not usually very good friends. I'm sort of a "go big or go home" kind of person. It's hard to be good to yourself when you have that mentality. Black or white, success or failure, no in-between. Eat nothing. Exercise to exhaustion. No room for missing the mark, no extenuating circumstances. That's great when you feel like anorexia's all you've got going for you, sure. It's a fast route onto a locked unit. At this point in my life, there's got to be a touch of grey. I've got to remember that there are times when going all-out is totally appropriate - like on race day - and times when it's not, like today, when I knew my absolute best wasn't going to get the job done (and that continuing was actually risking injury). Kindness seemed the best solution.

It's a decision I'm more or less at peace with. All this "honoring the divinity within me", a divinity that obviously just was not up to running 12 miles today, is new to me and I'll admit I'm still working at being okay with it. The kindest thing I can do for myself now is to do what I need to do to recover from the stress of the morning in the physical sense, and then to allow myself the luxury of putting it behind me and moving on.

Maybe I'm going to be good at being a grown-up someday.

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