When You Don’t Feel Like It

I knew I had only written sporadically lately, but when people ask Leah if I’ve stopped writing, I realized it was time to get up and knock out a Friday post!

My son, Jack, is doing the Mercedes Kids Marathon on the 21st of this month. He signed up months ago, and he runs laps at school each day – or whenever he wants to – and he has recorded the distance each day. In a perfect world, the cumulative miles of his daily runs total 25.2 and, on the day of the Mercedes Kids Marathon, he will run 1 mile – the last mile of the marathon – through the streets downtown.

To test whether he was ready for his big run, I asked him to go on a run with me last Saturday. To my surprise, he was excited about going. I was definitely excited to have him with me and, after putting on our running shoes, we left out on a one mile loop that I mapped out years ago.

I let him set the pace and we ran by the park and in front of the library. About a third of the way he just stopped. “We take breaks at school”, he told me. Those of you who knew me about 10 years ago know why I looked at him bewildered. “Let’s keep moving”, I told him, offering that slowing down was okay, but you always want to keep moving – preferably in the direction of the finish line.

We’ve been on a few runs since then, just half mile loops in our neighborhood, working on arm movement and covering the distance. I don’t know if it was because of the cold, or the wind, or the dark, or all three, but Jack wasn’t as thrilled about going for a run yesterday evening as he had been before.

I told him something that I’ve told myself a gazillion times before, “when you don’t want to go run – but you get up and get dressed and go anyway – those are some of the most beneficial runs you’ll ever have.”

Regardless of distance, the excitement of race day wears off about one-fourth of the way in to a race. By the midway point you’re trying to convince yourself that you feel better than you did at the starting line, and about three-fourths of the way through a race you’re questioning your sanity. Races are hard, but you run through it. Just like on training days when excuses like “it’s so cold”, “it’s windy”, “it’s dark” enter your mind and try to stop you from accomplishing your goal.

All that to say, you’re not going to want to do something today that you really need to do. You need to go for a run, or go to the gym, or go to the doctor, or stop smoking, or go on a diet, and excuses are going to enter your brain telling you all the reasons why it’s okay not to do whatever it is that you need to do today.

Do it anyway.

Fight through the excuses and the easiness of inaction and do it anyway. That’s when fears fade and growth happens.

Jack went on the run last night. As we ran, through his smile and laughter from being out on run on a cold, dark, windy evening, he said that it felt like his fingers were ice cubes and his lungs were frozen, but he finished the loop. Now, if it’s cold on race day, he knows that he’ll be okay.

I’m off to work. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!