I think there is a stereotype in our world that if you are not working out every day (or most days), then you aren’t really working out. You aren’t really making your health a priority. You aren’t really a “real” person who works out. I know it sounds silly, but don’t you think there is a bit of truth to it? We tend to look to the people who do more than us for inspiration and motivation, and for good reason. Those who are wiser are the ones who CAN inspire and motivate us. But don’t you think that what you are doing is enough? Can’t you inspire and motivate yourself? I would like that for you. And for me, too. 😉
I woke up on Saturday determined to go for a longer run. I am not training for anything right now, but I really felt like hitting one of my favorite trails (Mt. Vernon Trail) and spending the morning outside. I like the feeling of accomplishment that a long run on a Saturday brings! Now, this was not going to be any kind of record setting long run. Last week, I was knocked down with one of the worst sinus infections of my life (I’m not exaggerating) and I had a fever. So to say my workouts went well last week…well, that’s just not true. My workouts were nonexistent and then they were low impact. There was no way that I could workout in the condition I was in and then when I finally felt better, I didn’t want to do anything crazy for fear of taking my weak self right back to the land of the sick and pathetic. When our bodies are sick, they need to rest. They need to rest before we even get so sick that we are unable to do anything. I think part of my sickness stemmed from the fact that two weeks ago when I noticed I was getting sick, I just kept pushing through. I went to work every day, I tried to drink a lot of water but didn’t pay extra special attention to my hydration, I worked out HARD every night…I was just careless. And my body said no thank you.
Still nice and green in DC! Fall, where are you?!
On Wednesday, I ran a mile and did some strength training. On Thursday, I tried a new class called “Metabolic Resistance Training”. And on Friday, I went to Elevate, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite fitness studios. It’s a high intensity treadmill, rowing, and strength training class. I like it because it’s very challenging and it incorporates so many different kinds of exercise! With those three workouts under my belt, I was feeling confident to go into a longer run on Saturday morning even though I haven’t been running long recently. I have still been doing challenging workouts often, so I don’t think I have lost too much fitness. And besides, I had no time goals. I just knew that I wanted to make it to my destination: The Jefferson Memorial. Then I would stroll around the National Mall and take the metro home. My favorite part about living in DC is being able to workout with such beautiful scenery and monuments in the background!
This is when the Mall first comes into view from the Mt. Vernon Trail. I was still feeling good at this point…but around 4 miles, I started to seriously struggle. I could feel every muscle that I worked in my other workouts last week and I could feel every muscle that was still in relaxation mode from the days I didn’t work out while I was sick. So what do you do when you are in the middle of a trail and your start and end point are equidistant away? Well, you take some pictures, you give yourself a pep talk, you text your mom and your best friend, and you let yourself walk.
Say what?! Maybe this is not a big deal to you, but when I go for a run, I typically like to…oh, I don’t know…actually run? It’s kind of a hypocritical statement because I tell friends who are just starting their running journey that it is perfectly acceptable and fine to walk. In fact, when I AM training for something, I do walk on occasion. And when I am racing, I walk through every water station. So I know that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to walk while you are out for a run…but I had about 3 miles to go until I got anywhere near the metro. And if you had asked me in that exact moment, I would have told you that I wanted to walk the entire rest of the way, which seemed a little unacceptable to me. Surely, I could not WALK three miles while I was out for a run.
Well, guess what? I already told you I’m not training for anything. And it was a great 4 miles before I started to mentally and physically lose it during this run. So I really just had to convince my brain that it was “okay” for me to run and walk and run and walk the rest of the way. I was not going to actually run 7 miles. I was going to run 4 miles, and then I was going to do a combination of running and walking to the finish. That was such a hard pill to swallow! It’s a humbling feeling to realize that you are not ready for what you are trying to make yourself do. But that is the story of running. You will always feel humbled, even on your best days. There is a lesson in every run…and I truly mean that! You realize so many things about yourself as an athlete and as a person when you run. And if you’re not a runner, maybe there is something in your life that makes you feel like that. But all I had pictured was the happy feeling of running and being out on my favorite trail and celebrating not being sick anymore. I did not anticipate the feeling of “I can’t do it” halfway through the run!
And then I finally started to spot some fall foliage!
Here’s the thing about the above quote. My legs actually WERE giving out. There comes a point in every workout, or really anything that you are doing in life, when you have to stop and consciously realize that you know what is best for you. So you need to listen to yourself, and in this case, your body. In order to make it through some really challenging workouts, sometimes I have to modify. When I am lifting, that means I use lighter weights OR I use heavy weights and do fewer reps. But when I am running, maybe that means doing a combination of running and walking to get to my destination. Did I still get there? Yes. Was it still challenging? Yes. If I had forced myself to continue running, not only would I have been miserable, but I probably would’ve gotten hurt because my body wasn’t ready for that distance. In reality, I had no business trying to run that far. But what’s so bad about covering the long distance in whatever way I can, whether it’s running, walking, or crawling? Nothing! Nothing at all. Anything that I give…anything that you give in a workout…is our very best. So we should continue to listen to our bodies and do just that. Give our best.
Oh, and since I know you are dying to know, I finally make it to my end point. 🙂
And I took a little break to ENJOY being outside. Because that was the point of going for my run in the first place, remember? I also had to try “holding” Jefferson up. How did I do?! And just so you know, white marble is FREEZING to lay on (yes, I was laying) when it is 50 degrees outside. I think I am in for a big surprise this winter. I’m still not over last winter, so I’m unprepared for this change of seasons. 😉
And of course, I had to photograph the weird shadows and gray clouds surrounding the Washington Monument. It was a beautiful day for a 7 mile run/walk. 🙂
Do you push through workouts or do you cut yourself some slack?
Is it really “fall” where you live yet?!