Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What Gets Me Out That Door

It was a cold one this morning - 25 and clear as could be. I ran just shy of 5 miles, 57:49. I'm using that Gmaps Pedometer thing to figure out the length of my runs. I don't know how accurate it is. The maps for our area appear to be about two or three years old. For instance, the college has a new building that doesn't show up on it. I usually just run for time and don't pay too much attention to the distance. For the record, I skipped my second run yesterday.

Which brings me to the point of today's post - why are runners so tough on themselves? I've been thinking about it a lot today. (Especially after I read Nancy Toby's clockwork post!) I forced myself out the door with a headache yesterday, and with a slight one today. I've pretty much been running fatigued and feeling sick for two months now, but I have not missed a single morning run. I did pass on the second run on Thursdays during that time. Not only that, but when I'm out running and I feel my heart skipping beats, or I feel sick, and I start to think I should stop, I won't let myself. I have an absolute minimum of 40 minutes, longer if I can push it. It's frustrating to find that my legs are strong - it's my breathing or my stomach that cause me problems.

Why don't I ever give myself a break?

It's actually a number of reasons, some of which are kind of nebulous.
1) I don't want to be a wimp. For some reason, if I skip a run, I think I'm wimping out on myself. If I shorten a run I think I'm wimping out.
2) I'm afraid if I sleep in one morning, it'll be so nice and cozy that I'll do it again, and again, and before I know it, two years will have slipped by. (This actually happened with weight lifting. Eric and I lifted faithfully 2-3 times a week for a couple of years, then started skipping, now it's been two and a half years since we've lifted. Yikes!)
3) I'm afraid if I skip a run, I'll gain weight. I lost a lot of weight two years ago - through illness - and I like my new shape. I don't want to gain it back (I've already gained 10 back,even with running).
4) I'm afraid if I let myself slack off because I feel bad, then I'll never run again. Considering I've been struggling with whatever my health problem is for two years, that's a viable fear. I seldom feel 100% good. On the good news side, I seem to get two or three periods a year where I feel really good and running flows. That keeps me going on all the down times.

I guess, in the end, it comes downs to all this:
I really, really love to run. It makes me feel powerful and strong. I love to go out in harsh weather and feel like I was tough to do it. I love knowing I can travel so far on my own two feet. I love that good-tired-I-worked-hard feeling in my muscles after a run. I know that if I just get out the door, I'll be glad I did. That's always true. I can't think of a time when I wasn't glad I went. I run because I want to be a member of the running community - online and in real time. I have to run to do that. I run because I want to have this thing in common with my husband and our younger son. Something we can talk about and do together. I run because I have met the best people through running - joyful, fun, energetic people. The kind of people I want to be surrounded by as I live my life. That said, I'll be out there again tomorrow morning (and tomorrow night!)


robtherunner said...


I think being tough on ourselves is a good thing as long as we keep it in perspective. I have not run since Sunday and keep telling myself that I can take another day off, but that just means I am going to have to run 15 miles per day for the next 3 days to get my mileage in. As much as I want to be persistent I allow myself some flexibility and forgiveness.

However, I still think it is important to question things even if it sounds like we are beating ourselves up. I gotta get back to pounding my head into the wall now (jk).

olga said...

Loved it, loved it!! You are tough, and you do belong, and we love you, Michelle! And I'll be out there tomorrow with you, in a bitter cold front that's coming, at 5 am, and then at 3 pm. See you there:)

nancytoby said...

Interesting! You're much tougher than I am, and more disciplined, that's for sure!

Thomas said...

Running is addictive, that's the secret. You might find it hard to get out of bed, but you know that once you're on the road, you will feel good.

Donald said...

This is a great post. I agree with all of your reasons for running. You can't help but build toughness as a runner - that's part of it's appeal, too.

angie's pink fuzzy said...