Changing My Perspective

When last we spoke, I shared a little bit about my recent re-commitment to running.  We moved to a new city in January and after the dust settled I started running regularly.  My husband took note of my new commitment to running and he and our boys gifted me a new pair of running shoes for Mother’s Day.  I signed up and ran a few races (trail races; more on that another day).  I decided that this was going to be my year.  This was finally going to be my marathon year.  I started training harder and faster than I had ever trained and I loved every minute of it.

But then things started hurting: my shins, my feet, my everything.  I tried running through the pain and when I could no longer walk downstairs in our house or get out of our car without serious grimaces and groans, I surrendered to my first ever running related injury and took some time off.  And then a little more time.  And a little more.  And now here we are.

I’ve whined a lot about the fitness I’ve lost over the past few weeks.  I’ve complained to just about anyone who listen that I’ve lost more than just my speed (it’s all relative, baby).  I’ve lost my endurance, my motivation, my drive.  The three miles that were once a solid warm up, now seem to be an insurmountable challenge.  Getting out of bed when the alarm clock goes off was a struggle before, but now it’s downright impossible.

But then Tara left me a comment on Tuesday and I felt something start to shift within me.  She reminded me that this running is what we get to do.  It’s all a gift.  I also received a followup comment {as an aside, those comments are such an encouragement to my little blogging heart! keep ‘em coming!} from a dear friend reminding me of the joy that we find in running, the pure pleasure that is ours for the taking.  I felt the turmoil of anxiety and disappointment of the past couple of weeks start to quiet within me.  And then, to complete the trifecta of positivity, my husband reminded me that the journey is long.  In life, in mothering, but especially in running.

I’m a perfectionist and while it can be a helpful trait from time to time, more often than not, it is to my detriment.  I want to be perfect and I want to be perfect now so I usually end up quitting things before I give myself the chance to really get going.  I started this blog, in part, to keep myself from doing just that.  I wanted to challenge myself to really engage with the process.

I don’t like the process, but you know what?  Life is the process.  That’s all there is to it.  So I’d better change my perspective and start to enjoy the journey, as cheesy as that sounds.  Running is a gift; there are a lot of folks who are unable to get out there and log a few miles so I’d better change my attitude and start appreciating the miles I’m able to run, even if they’re not as fast as I’d like them to be.  Running is fun.  I need to remember that.  It’s also invigorating and motivating and sometimes I do get brief glimpses of what it was like to run as wild and free as I did when I was a kid.  It’s low stakes (as compared to being a wife and mother and friend).  I can set big goals and work towards them, learning what it takes to stick with things and applying those lessons to other areas of my life.  And the journey is long.  It’s okay to start where I am, to embrace the runner that I am today.  I can work on being faster, better, but I can’t do that work unless I realistically address the place I’m starting from.

So today, I’m setting aside the disappointment and the discouragement and the bad attitude.  I’m thankful for the runner that I once was.  I’m thankful for the example of other runners in the community who set incredible examples for to which I aspire.  I’m thankful for big goals and big dreams that spur on my training.  But I’m also thankful for the runner I am right now.  I will no longer be embarrassed by my slow times, by my starting point.  Instead, I’m going to embrace this place.  I’m going to start with the basics, I’m going to build a firm foundation on which to build what I hope will be a lifetime love affair with running.  I’m going to race with grace.

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