Mentally, I wasn’t in it and I let that consume me from the beginning.
It is hard to explain, but I never felt into the long run this past weekend. I woke up, did my normal routine and headed out the door, yet I couldn’t shake this feeling.
Despite almost balmy 30-degree temperatures and a new-to-me route on the schedule, my typical enthusiasm lacked. With each passing mile, I felt myself counting down how many more I had left, how much faster I could go until I finished back at the store. Two bigs hills, one around mile four and a half and then a final climb to the end point, did not ease my anxiety. Yet, when I reached the top, amid hard breathing and that tingle up my legs that told me how hard they worked to push upwards, I felt that sense of reward in getting past the discomfort.
I came into the run carrying a heavy heart, emotional fatigue and frustration. Running has taught me that so long as you push through and stay positive, you can endure. But sometimes in life, I struggle to remind myself of this mantra. When bad things happen to me and the people I love, it can be easy to be a recluse. But even if I do that, nothing can change what has already happened.
So I lace up my sneakers and put on a smiling face and pretend like nothing is bothering me. I run eleven miles alongside great company who distract me and my wandering thoughts from all the things it will go back to once the run is over. As my body goes through the motions, my heart rate pulses with my rate and my breathing reminds me of my aerobic efforts, I am literally putting one foot forward.
And that’s one of the greatest lessons running can teach you. That no matter the circumstances, emotions, suffering, as long as you can put one foot forward, then you are moving in the right direction, away from the challenges, negativity and hardships, and towards something better, brighter and powerful. Even if that something is just finishing a run that was difficult to start in the first place.