Today's run was hard. I'm recovering from a bad cold that's left me congested, nauseated, and tired, but I had taken two days off and wanted to go. As I turned at my half-way point, aiming for 3 miles, I bartered with myself.
"Self," I gasped, "you can go the full 3 miles and walk some of it, or you can cut out a quarter and run the whole thing."
Too proud to walk, I took the shortcut. And as I shambled home, my calves burning and my ankles aching, I silently screamed invectives in my head. Let's face it, this is how we motivate ourselves sometimes, yes?
But as I finally sat to stretch and slug back water, I reminded myself: I do not run to punish myself. I run to do myself a favor, to strengthen my being, to seek a moment of clarity and quiet in this busy, loud, frustrating world.
I went for the run knowing I wouldn't have a great time because I'd been sick. And I don't deserve to cut myself down. I did something good for myself today, and I may not have hit 3 miles, but at least I went.
I need to remember why I do this. It's not to prove something; it's not punishment. If I hadn't gone today, my emotional pain would have been worse than the physical pain I was in post-run. I do this for my mind, my body, my spirit, my soul.
Those last staggering, painful steps were a sign of strength and perseverance, and I refuse to beat myself up over them. In hindsight, maybe this run was good after all.