I have spent the past few weeks pretty mad at myself, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. I came to the realization that I have become lazy. Not physically lazy, but mentally lazy. I still run. All the time. But I take shortcuts now. I give up easily. The reason why I was able to go from never-having-exercised-in-my-life to running half marathons is because my personality is stubborn and determined. I do not fail at anything that I put my mind to. I don’t cut corners, I never take the easy way out. I don’t quit. Or at least I didn’t used to.
And that goes for the little things too. The little things are more important, because if you slack on those then your mind is already lost. For example, when I started running and I would come to a fork in the path, and one went uphill and one went straight, I ALWAYS picked the uphill. If there was a branch on the ground I would take one giant leap to get over it rather than slowing down and pussy-footing around it. When I was doing fartlek or intervals, I would sprint full speed all the way until the goal, not one inch before. When going on a 6 mile run, I would go at least 6.1 miles…5.9 didn’t count. When I ran around a corner, I always ran the entire way around and (quite literally) never cut corners. When doing crunches and other exercises, I ALWAYS did the minimum amount, no matter how tired or sore I was. I was my own strictest coach. Was.
I have spent the past couple weeks trying to re-train myself. Trying to get back to the person that I have always been proud of. I realized that I had gotten too comfortable with myself and my runs. It had become too easy, and I didn’t need to work as hard to achieve the same results. What difference did it make if I stopped at 5.9 miles? I have already achieved my “goal weight”, and I have already accomplished more than I ever dreamed possible. With the amount that I run now, I can eat whatever I want (if I want to). Running more or trying to get faster won’t change that. And I think deep down I knew this and so I let myself get lazy.
But I don’t run to lose weight. I don’t even run to stay in shape. I run because running embodies everything that I am. Determined, hard working, never completely satisfied. I should always need to run longer, faster, enter more races, have better form, learn knew techniques. These are the things that make me who I am, who I have always been…continuously striving to be better, every single run. Always working towards a goal, and when I reach that goal, creating a new one. Over and over and over. Until I physically cannot run anymore.
Along the way I lost this, but as soon as I realized it was happening I started to kick my ass back into gear. I am on the road to “recovery”, and I can finally feel good about myself, my character, again. It was a minor blip in the radar, but I’m back on track! Yesterday I was running on the treadmill and I wanted to prematurely decrease my speed slightly, but instead I made myself go those 5 extra minutes. And I remembered, “Oh yeah, this is what it feels like!” It feels so good to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, something I had forgotten. So I ask each and every one of you to assess your mindset when you run now. Are you still pushing yourself as hard as you were 2 months, or a year ago? It’s okay to take rest days or even weeks where you consciously don’t push yourself as hard, but if you are presented with a fork in the road and you don’t pick uphill, I urge you to spend the next few weeks concentrating on your willpower…training your mind to always pick the hardest path, because it’s those little things that really will permeate into your entire attitude towards running and life in general. It’s those little things that will make you a successful runner in the long run.