It’s about 11 degrees F outside right now; and since there’s no wind, it doesn’t feel too bad. I’m sitting here in the dark with a hot cup of coffee and sweat drying in my hair. Mere moments ago I was running through the snowy streets of town, cursing my body for struggling so badly.
Was it not just a few short days ago I ran a PR in a 5 mile race in frozen conditions? Why is it now impossible to run an easy paced route?
I could come up with a mile long list of excuses for why the run was so terrible: I’m still recovering from the race, I’m dehydrated, I just started Whole 30 and am in the middle of a sugar withdrawal, I didn’t sleep well last night, etc. etc. And the what we like to do, isn’t it? We like to make excuses for when things don’t go the way we planned.
But honestly, none of that matters.
Because the fact is, things are tough sometimes. Regardless of what we want or how we desire something to go. It’s a lot easier to excuse away a poor performance or uncomfortable experience and give up than it is to embrace it and keep moving forward.
I wanted to quit so badly on my run, and those excuses kept worming their way into my brain. Burrowing deeper and deeper, until they almost had me convinced I wasn’t good enough. That the run wasn’t worth it.
As a rule, humans don’t like to be uncomfortable. In fact, we’ve worked really hard to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. We have soft fluffy beds, and radiant heat in our floors. We have watches that make phone calls and robot vacuums. We get supremely mad when we can’t find the TV remote, because god-forbid we have to get off our carcass to change the channel on the TV like a peasant.
Don’t get me wrong, these things are nice, and there’s nothing wrong with having a soft, warm bed or a remote control. I’m merely trying to point out we have a very cushy life. Then when things get a little uncomfortable, we shy away from them.
This touches every part of our lives. From what we eat, to how we raise our children, to whether or not we go to church. (Anyone ever stay home from church when its really cold or snowing outside? “Well, if Jesus wanted me to go to church he would have made it warm and sunny outside!” I’m kidding, but there is an element of truth to that.)
We like to be comfortable, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it doesn’t offer much in the way of personal growth, does it?
One of the best quotes I’ve heard (and I don’t remember where it came from) says:
A comfort zone is a beautiful thing, but nothing ever grows there.
It’s nice when things are comfortable and easy. I love it when my runs are a breeze and feel effortless. But improvements are made when you step out of your comfort zone. When you make your home in the pain cave. When uncomfortable is your running buddy.
When things get tough, whether running or work or “adulting” (anyone else get irritated at that word?), embrace it. Allow it mold you into something tougher.
God made us incredibly resilient creatures. And he gave us a measure of mental strength that, when used regularly, gets stronger and become as sharp as steel. The trick is to practice using it on a regular basis, and we can become quite tough.
So that’s my step one: To get comfortable in the uncomfortable. To embrace the pain and toughness. To thumb my nose at all those negatives thoughts that strive to destroy my motivation.
Runs can be tough. Motherhood can be tough. Life can be tough.
I will be tougher.
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