Drop by drop

I didn’t have the greatest run yesterday. It was 5K and I felt like I was having a difficult time pushing through the wall. I like when my feet just go and I can start clearing up my mind (who doesn’t?), but that wasn’t the case last night. It’s hard not to get caught in the cycle of suffering sometimes. Of wanting to be excellent without the work, without ever hitting walls or coaching yourself through every last minute of a run. I am a competitive spirit, but Running isn’t about always being best or always being easy. It’s tempting to make it that way, but that is an unachievable state.

I was chatting about this and other matters with my training buddy (hello! I know you’re out there now…) and we both admitted that it is easy for us to feel a bit deflated at running club events when we’re just starting out and everybody else seems so phenomenal at what they’re doing. It’s incredibly convenient to let that comparison become the internal obstacle that prevents you from continuing. But you know what? I went running last night–and even though it was a hard slog, I ran the miles from start to finish. I spent my Friday evening running, and I wouldn’t have done that a year ago. In the grander scheme of things, I have changed. I am so much stronger and more determined than I was before. You’ve got to be honest with yourself  in order to run. And sometimes honesty is not that exciting–but sometimes it shows you how far you’ve come. So I vow to approach tomorrow’s running club race with a different spirit.  My intention for the race tomorrow is to appreciate that, by the end, I will have added 6.5 more miles to my net gain this week. My feet will propel me around a large beautiful lake. This distance is an accomplishment.

I finished “Zen and The Art of Running” a few weeks ago, and one of my favorite mantras from that book is “a jug fills drop by drop.” My running practice is that jug, tomorrow is but one drop. There will never be a gushing stream–it’s just not the nature of the beast. Drop by drop…

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