Thursday, January 20, 2011

Running My Way Out of the Big Holes I Dig

Life is stressful, parenting is exhausting, and women are hard on themselves.  All too often, I sit at the end of the day and list my failures.  I didn't get the things done in the house I needed to do.  I lost my temper with the kids.  I ate based on my emotions instead of my hunger.  I could go on and on.  One thought leads to the next, and I find myself trapped in a hole that I dug with each and every awful accusation I wouldn't imagine throwing at anyone but myself.  That hole is a really hard place to get out of.  I try digging, tunneling, and climbing, but when none of it works, I try running. 

It takes a lot to go for a run when I am feeling like that. When I am in that hole nothing seems worth it.  My mind races with negative thoughts piling up on me like handfuls of dirt, pushing me deeper into the ground, suffocating me.  It's a ridiculous amount of work for barely noticeable results.  It won't make a difference.  Why bother?  You can't do it.  You've dug yourself too deep into this hole  There is no point in trying to get out now.  You can't run, you're weak, you're fat.

Just the other day I knew I needed to run.  The hole I had dug was getting deeper.  Ice, snow, and my husband's work schedule had kept me from taking to the road in my running shoes for an entire week.  I checked the temperature. 18 degrees.  Ouch.  It didn't matter.  I had to go.  As I took off down the road, one step at a time with my face burning from the shock of the cold, I began to climb out of my hole.  Just a few miles later, I was shaking off the last of the dirt I had piled on myself.  My feet pounded the payment in a familiar rhythm while my breath appeared in small cloud puffs in front of me. 

I continued down the road with snow covered farm fields on either side of me.  I did an easy 4 miles.  I picked up my pace on the last mile feeling my body stretch, remembering the fitness it had achieved just a few short months ago.  I finished tired but restored.  I felt awake.  I felt strong.  I felt proud of what I'd done. 

Photo Credit: Canvas from Caty99 on Etsy

Later that day, I posted a facebook status, 4 miles, 18 degrees.  Can't help but feel a little badass.  I did.  I felt strong.  I felt fierce.  Not because 4 miles is such an amazing distance or because I ran it so fast.  I know there are runners and athletes much more badass than I, for goodness sake there are runners who take on 50 mile trail runs in the dead of winter.  But nobody else mattered, because I made a choice that day. 

When I was out running, there was nothing negative I could say about myself that made a difference.  Any dirt I tried to throw on myself just flew off as I kept on down the road.  I could think that I wasn't going that fast or that far.  I could think that I gained weight and lost fitness over the holidays.  I could think that I haven't been running as often as I should.  But none of it mattered.  It didn't matter because on a day when it was pretty darn cold and I could have come up with a billion excuses to stay home, I didn't.  It didn't matter because I was out running 4 miles farther than I could have ran in July.  It didn't matter because the person I am when I'm running - the person who keeps going, pushing herself mentally and physically and yet listening to her body's needs every step of the way - that's the person I want to be all the time.  It didn't matter because I could have been on the couch binge eating, but I was out overcoming depression, overcoming exhaustion, and overcoming apathy.

So next time you see me sending cranky tweets or just notice me not around the blog for a while and you're wondering if I fell down a hole that I might have dug, send me a note and ask me when was the last time I went for a run.  I'll do the same for you.  What do you mean you don't run?  You should.  Fine, if you really don't want to run, how do you get of your holes?  And don't tell me you don't dig them, because, well, that would make too much sense.


  1. Your post made me smile. I love that feeling when I run, too. However, most of the time my dirt digging overcomes my desire to get out and I end up not running. So many 'but's and 'because's. I need to start running again. How do you find the time???

  2. Time is hard. Especially when ice and snow and getting dark early comes into play. Winter's been really rough. My husband is very committed to supporting me in this, and so sometimes he shoves me out the door or makes time when I didn't think there would be. Other days, it's tough. I wish I could run with a jogging stroller, but I find it far too difficult form wise, and with a 4 year old and a 2 year old, well, they are a little big.

  3. thank you for this post! i love to run it makes things so much better.I have to get running again!! I just ordered shoes! now i have to get out there and run after the kids go to bed. that is he hardest part but my days start so early i can't get up early to run.


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