My long run yesterday was a disaster. Even though it was nice and cool first thing in the morning, as soon as the sun rose, we were back to sweatfest city.
I struggled through training last week due to a crazed schedule and crazy high temperatures.
And even though I thought I had figured out how to push on through by getting out earlier in the morning, my body didn’t like the new schedule at all.
By Saturday I had a full-blown, achy cold and nothing left in my legs.
So I started getting a little down on myself, obviously. I wondered why I wasn’t able to push through.
But on the walk back to my car, through a tree-lined trail, it hit me: I need to set better boundaries for myself, and stop saying yes to everyone.
Not just because my running is suffering, but because my health is as well.
I often talk about not being able to sit still, and I don’t think that’s natural necessarily. I can’t sit still because if I don’t keep pushing myself forward, even when I’m exhausted, everything will fall apart around me. Or so I thought.
So I did a little experiment on Saturday. I sat still. I took two naps and let everything pile up.
Boy my house was a freaking disaster by mid-day, and it just showed me what my buzzing around is all about. (There isn’t a person to blame for this, it’s just how it is.)
Though it sounds cliche, I do think our health can suffer as a result of the weight we put on ourselves to always save the day. And also god forbid someone comes to the door and sees plates in the sink and laundry piles all about. Right?
What if your kid forgot to pack something important for school because, instead of getting up and writing him/her a note before you allowed yourself to fall asleep, you just rolled over and said, f%@& it, and fell into a heavenly slumber?
What if your husband took your son camping and forgot to pack the can opener and so there was no sauce for the spaghetti?
The list goes on and on.
In short, we don’t realize what carrying around all of these worries and duties on our shoulders can do to us.
I remember a family friend, a mom of four, who had beaten breast cancer, say to me one day when I was new to motherhood.
“Learn to say No! You don’t have to do it all. It took breast cancer for me to learn that lesson.”
It’s not just motherly duties that pile up, but all of the other duties and obligations as well.
And so I came to realize on those two predawn runs last week, when I was actually running myself into the ground, that I would do almost anything to just get an hour of running freedom everyday to compensate for the stress in my life. (Obviously there’s more to it than just being a mom — stress to get my career going, lack of sleep, the heat, etc.)
In doing so, I pushed myself just over the edge of feeling healthy and strong into feeling weak and sick.
So it’s back to the drawing board. Things need to be reshuffled, duties dispersed, worries released.
But I am going to fight for that hour. It’s the one part of my day when I am unreachable, flying, free and stress-free.