A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Choosing your hard

on April 7, 2014

While I was out running Saturday, there was more than one moment when I found myself wondering why on earth I was doing this. Why was I out here running this hilly path with sore hips and my slow plodding pace and wasn’t this just too hard to be fun? Those thoughts usually come when a) someone passes me and makes it look so “easy” or b) I had to go uphill yet again. Why would I voluntarily do something that is hard? I had the same fear of the hard work of running in the Diva Dash a few weeks ago, where I almost stopped to walk with the finish line literally in sight!

I love the way I feel after a run and most of the moments within any given run, but still have a fear of tackling the “hard” work of running. That’s why I put off speed work for so long – running faster is hard. That’s why I shy away from training plans that have instructions beyond “run x miles” today. I even still get nervous any day I set out for “long” run with a specific mileage goal and I just ran a half marathon 6 weeks ago. 5 miles should not make me nervous! Andย  yet it does.

So why fear the hard work? Part of it is probably my over-achiever’s fear of failure. If I push beyond my comfort zone, failure is definitely a possibility. Part of it is honestly rational – I do enough hard things that are actually required of me, in terms of my job and motherhood and being a good wife. Why take on extra challenges I don’t need to?

When these whiny thoughts reared their head during my run Saturday, I had time to think about why I was on doing this in the first place. Why do we ever take on anything that is hard? A few things came to mind for me:

– Hard things bring the risk of failure, but they also bring the biggest feeling of accomplishment. I don’t really get the “rock star” feeling after a nice walk (not that walks don’t have their own rewards).ย  “Failing” this particular hard thing really isn’t failing at all. Just the effort is worthwhile and honestly, what are the consequences of failing to run as far or as fast as I want to? It isn’t like I’m running for my life from a dinosaur or something.

Speaking of hard, leaving the last bit of cookie alone when there are no witnesses around to see you take it is hard!

Speaking of hard, leaving the last bit of cookie alone when there are no witnesses around to see you take it is hard!

– Some of these hard things will help me live longer, so they’re definitely worth it. Running is good for my heart, is keeping me off of blood pressure pills and helping me stick around to see my guy grow up.

– Sometimes choosing the hard things like running mean I get to avoid the hard things like diabetes. Checking my blood sugar four times a day for the last 3 months of my pregnancy was hard and definitely not something I want to do for the rest of my life if I can avoid it!

– I am grateful to have the opportunity to do “hard” things. There are so many people who would love to be able to run at all and there may come a time in my own life where I am no longer able to do this. I should appreciate every footfall (well, I’m human – let’s shoot for appreciating most of them).

This last issue was really brought home to me on Sunday morning, when I re-read this post (started on Saturday after my run) right after reading the newest issue of Runner’s World, filled with stories of the Boston Marathon. There is nothing about my hard that ever approaches what those people experienced. I am blessed with the opportunity for these little doses of “hard.”

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10 responses to “Choosing your hard

  1. Kristin says:

    I love “Hard things bring the risk of failure, but they also bring the biggest feeling of accomplishment.” YES!!! Wow, this is SO true!!!

  2. Very inspiring! You are so right, the feeling of accomplishment we get from doing something hard is unbeatable… I’m thinking of the reasons why I do hard things that I don’t really “have” to do, and that’s what comes to mind.

    • I was just reading your race recap from this weekend! You’re right – the hard things are the best in a lot of ways. Congrats!

      On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 12:45 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  3. Great post Jess!!

    I have a fear of failure at times as well… I think that is why for so long I set ‘doable’ goals at a few of my races. I hate how much I underestimate myself and I really try not to, but I’ve always been a ‘expect the worst, hope for the best’ person! It’s an on-going process, and I am learning every day though to set higher goals and strive to be the best I can be, even if that means working harder! :0) The hard is what makes it great!

  4. leannenalani says:

    Sometimes I ask myself why I always do the highest intensity workouts but you are right, it’s that sense of accomplishment. The endorphins don’t hurt, either ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Those endorphins are a great reward, aren’t they? There’s also lots of interesting research about how good exercise is for the actual neural connections in your brain, which is cool.

      On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 3:28 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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