I’m not proud to admit this, but there have been times over the past couple of months where I have really felt like quitting. Stopping. Not running anymore.
You see it all got a little hard. The comeback from injury was not quite as gleeful as I imagined it might be. Tentative – or worse – downright inactive, I’ve used the excuse of having been injured to spend too long on my increasingly fat arse, and working myself back into contention to run the St George Marathon in October has been nothing if not a slog. Everything that could hurt hurts. I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of soreness, and frankly, if it moves, it aches.
It’s not as though I haven’t been getting the miles in, and while I’m certainly not going crazy with my weekly totals, I’ve hit my weekly long run schedule and already done one of three 20-milers that I’m planning. It’s just been really hard, and as a consequence, a little lacking in the joy I usually experience when I’m pounding the pavements.
But here’s the thing – I’m just not ready to quit. If I have learned one thing in life, if you keep going at something long enough, if you are prepared to push through the tough times, and if you are prepared to look for the bright spots, chances are something will happen to bring you back around.
It’s like me and my non-existent golf game. On the extremely rare occasions that fate decrees that me, my golf clubs, and a golf course occupy the same GPS co-ordinates, I know that, at best, I’ll lose a few golf balls on the way to a score in the comfortable three figures. But somewhere in among the devastation there will be a shot, just one shot, that I know will bring me back to the first tee again. The sound, the ‘ping’, the perfect flight of the ball (maybe just the fact that I can even find my ball) is what will do it, and that is all it takes. Just one shot.
Or like my snowboarding (should be ‘slowboarding’) technique. I’m really not very good at it, but somewhere, at some-point in a day, there will be a run or a section of a run where just for a minute, I feel like I can actually do it. Where I let myself go, relax, and it’s actually fun enough to bring me back to the slopes for another day.
And so it was with my running. Just last Sunday in fact. I really needed a good run, and said as much to myself as I stepped out of the house – “let’s make this a good one” were the words through my head as I pressed start on the stop-watch and play on the iPhone. And so it turned out. 16 miles later I was done, happy with my pace (8:35/mile for the record), gas left in the tank and totally and unequivocally content. Just as good as I ever remembered. It was as simple as that. One good run.
I don’t know what your equivalent of this feeling might be, but wherever you are, and whatever you do, I encourage you to keep going through the tough times, look for the bright spots, and try and ‘make it a good one’, whatever it is you are doing.