The last two mornings I’ve woken up under what I can only describe as a haze of melancholy. This downturn of sadness only lasts for an hour or so: once I have had coffee and breakfast and get to work I’m back to my peachy keen self and all is good. The reasons don’t matter. At least not right now for the purposes of this blog post. Truthfully, what upsets me the most about this small stress fracture on my otherwise pristine sense of self isn’t the cloud of blah I feel upon waking but the fact that it’s made me lose my running mojo.
Last week with the heat and sun I overdid it a bit in the running department. Friday was spent with a headache and sudden bursts of dizziness. Dehydration I know now, and after realizing I had run four days in a row in, like, 90 degree heat I took Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off.
I should have been itching to go yesterday morning. Instead I woke up with virtually no motivation to even get out of bed, let alone run. So I didn’t. I just stayed in bed, had a small pity party for my sad self, and eventually got up and went about my day. And, as I said, once I actually got moving and talked with a friend, I was reminded that it’s not a sad self I possess but an awesome self and the pity party is entirely unnecessary.
But then that same feeling hit me as soon as I woke up this morning.
It was as if I was fifteen again and this was gym class and it was Mile day. Suddenly this activity that I have come to love was once again the enemy. I had forgotten my reasons for why I run along with why I love running. As a child I would have tried to fake sick to get out of having to go to school and
run walk that stupid mile. As an adult I have the luxury of deciding whether or not I want to run. Monday I didn’t. Today, though, I knew I was on the edge of a slippery slope.
My second 5K is next Saturday and I know without a doubt that that race is the only thing that got me on the treadmill this morning. (Oh yeah, this is so bad that even going for a run outside seems like too much effort.) If I didn’t have to run 3.1 miles in a week and a half I would have stayed in bed. As it was, part of me was trying to convince the other part of me that I could just skip running this week and do an extra long “long run” on the weekend. And as tempting as that sounds, I also know that leaves me vulnerable to the weekend coming along and another excuse popping up.
So I put my workout clothes on. I grabbed my iPhone and water bottle. And I ran for twenty minutes.
It was hell. It was torture. It was like pulling teeth. Those twenty minutes felt like an hour. I wanted to quit after ten. Hell, I wanted to quit after five. But I didn’t. I finished those twenty minutes knowing that everybody has bad runs. I also know that losing the running mojo isn’t nearly as important as fighting to find it again.
And that’s exactly what this morning was. A fight. A fight against myself and what was holding me back. A fight to remember why I started on this journey. It wasn’t just about losing weight or getting fit or even getting healthy. This journey was about finding myself again. I was lost for a long time and I don’t even know if it was a matter of not knowing who I was or if it was that I did know who I was and I just decided to ignore it.
Losing weight, becoming a runner, that’s all secondary to the true journey I’ve been on: to love and embrace who I am and, more importantly, to stop apologizing for myself.
Just the fact that I forced myself onto that treadmill this morning and forced myself to complete those twenty minutes is a sign of how far I’ve come. Because, believe me, it would have been so much easier to just stay in bed and tell myself that I can skip the next few days and get back on track on Friday, knowing full well the more days you skip the harder it is to get back on track. And the old me would have done exactly that. Which, of course, is what got me up to 311 lbs and why I had to start this journey anyway.
What kept me on that treadmill wasn’t the endorphins or my motivating running playlist. No, what kept me going was the fact that I spent those twenty minutes reminding myself why I was even there to begin with.
In other words, to quote a song off said playlist: Don’t lost your grip on the dreams of the past. You must fight just to keep them alive.
It’s all connected. The feeling lost in the past. The current mornings of melancholy. The desire to fight. I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow. I’d like to think that this morning’s run will be the spark I need, but I may wake tomorrow under that same haunting haze and have to once again climb back up. But at least now I was reminded of why I’m willing to go through the struggle and work.
Love from the ashes,