Saturday, May 9, 2009

What Defines You?

Hard to believe, I've had a love/hate relationship with running for nearly thirty years now.

One thing I know to be true about running or any other form of exercise for that matter is; there will be plenty of days when its easy to get out and get moving. The longer you are involved with running or jogging or walking or strength training or whatever other activity you choose the easier it becomes to consistently get out and do it. In fact it becomes a regular and hopefully enjoyable part of your healthy active lifestyle.

The other thing that I know is, although there will likely be more good days than bad, there will be plenty of bad days. And, its not the good days that define who you are. Rather it is how you handle the bad days that build the real foundation for creating a healthy lifestyle.

It is in those moments when you really would rather not get out and train that you determine who you are, not just as an athlete but also as a human being. Do you push forward and through or do you allow yourself to be derailed by every little obstacle real or imagined that comes along?

I had one of those days yesterday. My training has been going quite well lately. But yesterday, I really wasn't feeling it. I procrastinated through most of the day before finally pushing myself out the door.

By the time I got out on the road it was pretty warm and I wasn't feeling too great to boot. About halfway through my run I started getting stomach cramps and my legs had been aching almost from my first step. Now I was faced with a decision. I could stop running and walk home or I could keep running. Walking would have certainly meant some relief for my aching legs and yet I found that as I slow to a walk for a couple of minutes my stomach cramps actually got worse. The thought then occurred to me: If this was mile 35 of a 50 mile ultra marathon who would be there to help me through this?

The answer was simple. The only person who could make me go on is me. No amount of encouragement from anyone else could have made me run through the soreness. If I was going to finish this run or finish an ultra marathon, it is up to me to dig deep inside of myself and find the strength to go on.

And so I did push on. This was not a particularly long run for me but it was perhaps one of the best 6 mile runs I've completed in a while. Not the fastest or strongest performance, but great because when it came down to decision time, I made the right choice. The fact that I chose to push on will carry with me throughout other areas of my life.

Today is going to be a much, much longer run, but something tells me its going to be one of those days where its easy to get myself out and moving. After all, I've already proven to myself that I have what it takes when things get tough.

What do you do in a similar situation? Do you persevere or do you fold? The choice is yours and making the right one can take you to a totally different level!

Have an awesome day and go get active!


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