Below is a post I wrote last summer. Today I was looking for words of encouragement for two reasons, the first being that I am working through the grieving process. I am finding that grief makes your thoughts swing wildly from one extreme to the other. I go from thinking life is short and you have to cram in as much as possible, to wondering does it really matter if I complete such mundane, unimportant activities like completing a run?
The second reason I was looking for encouragement is because I know someone who is feeling frustrated with her running progress right now (and no, this time it is not me). We all know what that is like, that feeling of anger and frustration as we question why we aren’t reaching our goals. I don’t proclaim to have the words to fix all of that, but re-reading this post made me feel a little better.
We all know running is hard. It is a mental sport as much as it is a physical one. Making yourself get out there for training run after training run can drain the best of us. Having a few tough runs is enough to make you think you should just stick to Dr. Who marathons on Space Channel rather than actually try to run a marathon. I had some tough runs this week, but they weren’t bad runs. I finally got my weekly mileage back up over 40k and I am proud of getting myself out there when I could have stayed home and enjoyed the peace and quiet while my kids were busy at a half day camp.
The run that will stick with me this week was my 10k tempo. The day before I had done 19k, the day before that I had done a fairly fast 6k. My legs were tired, but I finished the 10k in a reasonable time and without hurting. What I will remember most is actually the end of the run. I finished in Fitzroy Provincial Park at the beach. I had the water to myself and was able to wade into the cool waters of the Ottawa River. The sky was perfectly blue, the air was clear and the temperature perfect. It was that elusive perfect summer day that we all dream of when winter wears out its welcome. All I could think of was how lucky I was to be able to run and to be able to enjoy such a gift of a day.
My Yin Yoga instructor always says, “Honour Your Body.” She repeats it often to remind everyone to listen to their bodies and do what is comfortable without thinking about what everyone else can do. But as I stood in the river the phrase meant even more to me. It meant honour your body by keeping it healthy, by keeping it fit, by being surrounded by nature and appreciating her beauty, by being thankful for your health, by being thankful that you have the opportunity to challenge yourself and to push your limits, not because you have to but because you want to. Honour the gift that you have been given and never take it for granted. It is easy when running, oh so easy, to forget to honour your body and be thankful. My new goal – try to take a moment in each run to remember these thoughts.