What a Long Way You've Come
I was 2.1k into my run this morning, and I was really struggling. I had more than half of my distance left to go, and I just couldn't do it. My legs hurt, it was humid, my face and hands felt bloated. I hadn't slept well, I didn't stretch properly, and I hadn't eaten anything before setting out.
Everything about this morning was hard, and I was discouraged. I was furious at myself for not having prepped better. I was discouraged that I wasn't able to run faster and for longer intervals. I considered unplugging my headphones, stopping my run app, and slowly dragging my feet home in time to shower and eat before going to work. As I was walking begrudgingly home, sluggish and stewing in my cloud of frustration, I could just feel it in my body that if I made it home in this mood, I would feel defeated for the rest of the day.
I sat down on a bench, turned off my music, and took long, deep breaths. I reminded myself that a year ago, I couldn't run for 100m, let alone 5k. Six months ago, I wouldn't have woken up at 5:50am to run before work. One month ago, I wouldn't have gone to yoga to learn the stretching and breathing techniques that make running easier.
I am a goal-oriented person. I thrive when I am working towards accomplishments, whether as trivial as wearing heels around my house for a full week, or as grandiose as working as a writer for the BBC in the next 5 years. But when you spend so much time looking ahead, it's easy to feel like you still have miles to go.
I have this picture as the lock screen on my phone to remind myself not to forget where I've been. My friend Karen used to say "Honour where you are today." I like that too, because it keeps you in the present. It reminds me to stop thinking about what came before and what will come after, and to just be conscious of where I am right now.
I needed that moment to reflect this morning - not just on my running, but on other parts of my life. To honour that things are hard right now, but I've come so far, even from a few months ago. In January, I didn't really believe I'd be able to do a 5k race. I could barely believe I'd get out of bed on some days. But I have a theory that if you do the things you hate often enough, eventually you won't hate them anymore. And so even though every half hour on the treadmill sucked, and every morning layering up for to face the winter morning made me want to cry, and knowing that I had to do it again the next day, I kept doing it. Because we need to take steps forward to put the distance behind us.
I still have a long way to go. There are goals yet to be accomplished. But it was good to remind myself of what a long way I've come.