Bad Decision Number One was when I opted to try new “running” gel insoles in my ASICS on race day. I thought to myself, “It’s ONLY two and a half miles…what’s the WORST that could happen?”
Bad Decisions Two through Four? A sub-par warmup, an off-kilter diet, and an entire week free of training thanks to Mother Nature’s wintry fury. I guess that last one is still my fault anyway.
Oh, and starting out too fast. That’s Number Five.
All those bad choices added up to a perfect storm of misery and regret on this foggy February Sunday afternoon. Humidity aside, it was a good day for a race along the river in Selinsgrove. Turns out the Isle of Que is a nice spot for a run. I, however, was not enjoying myself as much as usual during this race. The aforementioned insoles which were supposed to prevent injuries were actually giving me shin splints in my left leg. Plus, the darned things were cramping my toes, leading to even more pain. I struggled to keep a decent pace as I dodged the snow puddles…until I failed to sidestep a deeper puddle and drenched my shoe.
Thus ended my quest for a good finish time.
I slowed to a walk, internally scolding myself for such a lousy performance. My dejected soul reflected in the puddles of melted snow. If I couldn’t run a pitiful two point five, how was I going to complete my second marathon in three weeks? I was actually supposed to run this course twice, to make a five miler, just for training purposes. At this point, I really didn’t feel like doing it again.
The others made sure I did it again.
During the second lap, I relaxed and my leg started to feel better. I completed the five miles, despite my less-than-stellar performance, and drove home satisfied.
The next day, I started my morning on the treadmill at the Y, pounding out another three miles. I have a favorite treadmill across from a window, where I can pretend I’m trying to reach the mountain ahead of me. It’s still dark outside, so I can see my reflection in the window–and the reflection of the girl on the treadmill behind me. The latter reminds me of where I started, and my own reflection reminds me of how far I’ve come. I can’t go back to the 240-pound, depressed, lethargic person I was before.
Every day, I decide whether I’d rather be more like the old me, or the new me. Would I rather sleep until 6:30, or be at the gym at 6:30? Would I rather eat whatever I wanted, or eat what benefits my body? The new me takes effort. It takes planning. Is it worth the work to feel great? Sure…but it isn’t always easy. Some days, it’s just easier to hit the snooze button and grab a cookie. Or ten.
Other days, it takes a puddle to get you back on track.
Photo by Mary Beth Pace looking out at the Susquehanna River from the Isle of Que.