Gone Long Enough
It's been a while since I last posted either before or after the alarm clock. I think I began to rebel against the very alarm clock that encouraged me to be up before dawn to listen to the sounds of the crickets and enjoy a cup of coffee that would bolster me into a run shortly after. I am not sure what happened but I believe that, even with all of the best of intentions, the structure of routine, while it can be liberating (because you always know when something will happen), it can also be stifling because there is no room for improvisation.
Here's my thinking about why my routines fall apart. When I am not taking care of myself, I withdraw because I don't want to be judged for not sticking with my routines. I love to be around like minded people, who enjoy the same things I enjoy, but when I break from the routines (that I actually love and need for my own sanity) I don't want anyone to know and I retreat. I believe this is normal and I always come back around, but I also believe - insanely - that I do better when I take a few steps backward (when I also know progress happens when moving forward). Or, and this is far more likely, I take breaks because I am too competitive with myself and can't keep pace with my own improvements. I would like to learn to enjoy life at whatever pace I need to 'run' in order to finish. Some days that pace might need to be blistering and faster than the day before and others maybe slower and steadier. Not every run needs to be calculated, timed, analyzed, suffered, and endured to be a great run, right?!
Consequently, I am learning that sustained, maximum effort has lead to burn out for me more times than I care to count and when it comes to running, which I love dearly, I am simply tired of burning out. What am I going to do about it? Well, I am going to start by NOT talking myself out of running simply because it's too dark, it's too cold, I'm full, I didn't eat lunch, I ate lunch, it's too hot, I have to cook dinner, the kids have homework (are you getting the idea that the list of excuses is long and unsubstantiated?). I am also going to give myself a break when I am ill, when I am exhausted, or when my body is begging me not to pound the pavement for a day - but I am STILL going to go for a walk. Life is too precious to abhor the routines that keep me healthy and, in the end, happy; however, embracing them in moderation - and with flexibility - will allow for the fast and furious speeds when necessary, while still providing the energy (desire, motivation) for the much needed, slower days that fall in between.
So welcome back. I'll try not to be gone so long this time. I will still be up with the alarm and enjoying my coffee but if running happens later in the day, I won't beat myself up over it.