holding myself accountable

If I decide not to run today, who will care?  If I am feeling blue and not in my groove on a run and I have EVERY URGE to call it quits and cut it short, what will that matter – to anyone??  I mean, really, if a 6 mile run turns into a 3 mile run — WHO cares?  If I let life get in the way and suddenly a 40 mile week turns into a 20 mile week, what’s the big deal?

I’ll tell you….these kinds of questions zip and zoom through my head on a DAILY basis.  Especially when I am not training for a specific race.  The same answers come back to me though, every. single. time.

It matters to ME.

I care.

I am the one who I will disappoint if I don’t get out the door or if I cut it short, give up or call it quits.

I am the one who holds MYSELF accountable.

It’s a big job and not an easy one.  But over the years I have realized that I am just so much happier when running is a regular part of my life.  When I am dedicated to my training.  I am flexible – don’t get me wrong on that – but there have been times when I have abandoned my love for the sport altogether because of life getting in the way or because I haven’t made myself a priority, and what has suffered was way beyond my physical fitness.  My happiness suffered.  My sense of inner peace suffered.  My passion and my heart and my drive in all areas of my life — suffered.

Running has become so closely tied to making me the best, most balanced, healthiest and happiest version of myself.  So when I consider not doing it, or when I think about cutting a run short because I am hating it in the moment, I remember how much of a difference it will make for me later and I push through those blah feelings and I fight for the reward of the run.  I tell myself that if I think I feel bad now – before the run – just think how awful I will feel later, once I have missed the opportunity to get it done.  Having to face the impact of my decision to not do it – that is something I completely DREAD.  And when I think about how GOOD I will feel once it’s done, how grateful I will be for having committed to it, how STRONG I will feel having overcome the temptation of throwing in the towel – that feeling excites me and it motivates me to GET IT DONE.

The other day I had 6 miles to run on the treadmill.  I had spent the 45 minutes beforehand doing a killer core and full body strength training routine that finished up with more squats and lunges than I can remember.  My legs were like jelly as I stepped onto that treadmill.  I didn’t want to run.  I was tired.  I thought about moving my schedule around for the week, switching things up so I wouldn’t have to run at all that day.  I made a lot of excuses for myself and they all made tons of sense and were very reasonable and logical.  I decided that I would think on it as I ran, and made a deal with myself – run 3 miles and if you are still hating it at that point, end the run.  Miles 1 and 2 were absolutely brutal.  I felt like a slug and was convinced that the run would be ending soon, there was no way I would get 6 in feeling so blah.  But something magical happened about halfway through that third mile — I started to feel GOOD.  I sped up the pace and got into my music and then, before I knew it, I had run 4 miles and then 5.  As the 6th mile came to an end I was floating, not wanting the run to end.  My way of thinking had completely reversed and instead of trying to figure out a way to run fewer miles, I was trying to come up with a way to run more miles than originally planned.  I smiled to myself – and to think you didn’t want to run at all today!  I was so glad that I had pushed through my resistance, so happy that I didn’t give up so easily.  So grateful that I fought for the feeling I had at the end of that run.

I left the gym a soggy, stinking mess but with a huge smile across my face.  My two little boys were with me – Gus in my arms and Will holding my hand as we left the gym.  I felt strong and proud and happy.  My kids had no way of knowing that I ran 6 miles that morning when I felt like running none, nobody did.  But in my heart this run just made such a big difference to me.  Instead of being disappointed in myself, I was facing my day feeling good about my choices, feeling strong and capable.

I hold myself accountable.  Accountable for my running.  Accountable for my happiness.

9 thoughts on “holding myself accountable

  1. I love your post. It is so true. The only one it matters to is US. We may not be the fastest girl out there and it may not matter to other people whether we run or not, but pushing through the negative thoughts is great training for the non-running moments in life that require perseverance. Great post!

  2. Love it Jess!!! Whenever I am struggling and tempted to cut a run short or something, I always say to myself, “Who would you be cheating? You would be cheating yourself.” And of course I don't want to do that, so I don't. 🙂

    Great job getting it done!!

  3. I like your toughness, but sometimes it is okay to turn a 6-miler into 3 if you just aren't feeling it. Yes, if this consistently happens and your 50-mile weeks turn into 20-mile weeks, that's no good. But every now and again, I think it's totally fine to cut a run short or skip if you're just not into it that day. No sense in pushing through something when you aren't enjoying it. I know that with your treadmill run it started to become enjoyable and that's awesome. But if you do miss a run every once and awhile, it doesn't mean that you're headed back to the days of not having running in your life! As always, an insightful post!

  4. That is excellent. My first few miles are always the toughest… workout before or not. But, like you, after a few, it just feels natural. I guess it's our way of a mental (and physical) warm up. Cheers.

  5. A run is a run is a run. So simple yet so complex. I have learned over time to not beat myself up and it is not the end of the world or mean that I am taking the easy way out if I cut it short. All about balance, priorities and knowing yourself! Running is a gift I want to enjoy!

  6. “Running has become so closely tied to making me the best, most balanced, healthiest and happiest version of myself.”

    I love this statement and I identify with it so much too. I ran a 10k today and as I was running I was thanking God for how much running does for me and how much I love it. It is my stabilizer in life!

  7. Perfect perfect! I was sitting and drinking my pre run cup of coffee trying to find a reason to bag it this morning and now I don't have any. 😉 once again exactly what I needed. You are like my Running Fairy Godmother!

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