I was driving in my car recently, bopping along to music, and lo and behold, one of my favorite running songs came on. Viva La Vida by Cold Play anyone? I wanted to jog in my seat while waiting at a light, though that wouldn’t be fun for other drivers on the road.
After completing a triathlon at the end of July, I had taken about a month off from running due to some achy bones, but this tune made me want to hit the pavement. I had to get back out there!
Now, though I do love to run, getting started happens to be one of the toughest parts for me. I procrastinate, and sometimes it takes me just as long to rev up to get out there as it takes to complete my run. But when I settle in and catch a groove, I feel all lit up. Remember my cape? Afterward I feel like I can do anything and Superwoman is ready to swoop into her day.
However, a girl has to get out there first, and she has to figure out how to get herself through the tough spots, especially after taking some time off. And though I was still biking and swimming, I’m not going to lie, with my first run I struggled to get that groove going.
So, as I was finishing up my run on the first day back, which happened to be a hot one, I came up with this idea. Check out this little pic.
I use the Run Keeper app, and after logging in a run, it asks how you feel. On this particular day, I felt melty and sore, and it wasn’t the most enjoyable or enticing run I’ve had. I was getting ready to click on the little face that reads, Well, this kind of felt like crap, and I thought, wait. What if I try a little experiment?
What if, I pondered, I just clicked on a smiley instead, thereby telling myself, hey, it was fun! Maybe my brain would forget the past thirty minutes of less-than-delight, and would begin to think of the endeavor as enjoyable. You know, a mind over matter kind of thing.
Also, maybe next time I wouldn’t be so reluctant to get out there if I could convince myself, Hey, you had a great time on your last run. Look at that smiley guy! So I did it. I clicked on happy, even though it was not the happiest experience.
The next morning, was I running to the closet for my sneakers, eager to get out there once again? No. Telling myself I had a great experience when the run was actually less than stellar simply did not work.
And that’s when I recognized once again, that I have to acknowledge the state I am in, even when it’s crappy. I can’t just bypass a lousy emotion. Sometimes I have to sit with it or just let it be there. I don’t have to attach to it, going on and on about how lousy I feel, but it can just be. Then, after I’ve recognized it is what it is, I can move on.
I guess the equivalent would be like hopping on stepping stones across a stream. If I try to skip one and jump over it, my ass is going to wind up in the water. I just have to deal with the one that’s right in front of me, taking it step by step, until I get to the other side.
So in this week’s episode of “What running has taught me,” I realize that clicking on my happy emoji when I was not so happy, was the equivalent of me telling myself to “just get over it.” Not cool, Jenny, not cool. It’s okay to have a crappy run, or to feel like crap. The only way out of the crap however, is to go through it.
After a few more runs, taking it slow, and the bonus of fabulous fall weather, I was able to legitimately click on my smiley guy. Hooray! I managed to jump the stones to the other side. So always remember, if you are having a not-so-good day, it’s okay to click on your crappy in order to get to your happy.