When the weakest link becomes the strongest.

In places, running on May 7, 2012 at 1:50 am

I write about my threesome of favorite solo pursuits here, but in reality, Read/Write/Run  is an uneven triangle. Of the three, I’ve always known that running would be the weakest part; after all, I’ve been reading and writing as long as I can remember.

Running is still new and slow and hard.

But this afternoon, as I slogged away on a humid run, it occurred to me out of the blue that in some very important ways, running is now propping up the other two parts of the troika, especially the writing.


As it got later and later this afternoon, and I continued to put off my run, I began my litany of usual rationalizations for blowing it off. First and foremost, I was so sleepy I could barely keep my eyes open; a run seemed impossible.

But I was already dressed to run, and my new, surprisingly powerful runner voice jumped into the procrastination/rationalization conversation going on in my head.

First, the voice reminded me that I would feel terrible if I ditched my plans, and how that disappointment in myself would cloud the rest of the day, not to mention tomorrow (I won’t have any time for running tomorrow, so today was the only shot before Tuesday).

Then it pointed out that I needed the run to clear my head and shake off a bad mood.

Finally, it insisted that the pleasure I would get from being in the woods would overcome the fatigue I was feeling. I think it also called me a wuss before all was said and done.

It worked. Even in my nearly narcoleptic state, when I wanted very badly to stay in the air-conditioning and take a nap, I made myself climb in the car and drive the 15-20 minutes out of town, onto the interstate and eventually down a dusty gravel road to the trailhead.


In the year and a half since I began running, I’ve made a lot of reluctant decisions to go and run when I really didn’t feel like it.  This afternoon’s call to go running anyway seems small in the grand scheme of things, but today, that small decision was a sign of a sea change in me. A huge shift in my non-athletic, I’m-not-one-of-those-people way of thinking about myself in relation to running – or any other physical challenge.

Going to all of that trouble and drive time to go sweat and huff and puff is something I never thought I would be capable of when a nap was the alternative.

What that brings to the rest of my life – especially to the writing projects that are taking me into new territory – is the knowledge that I am capable of big change, even at 47, when habits and sense of self are so ingrained. That knowledge, I realized today, creates confidence that regularly spills over into other parts of my life.

So even though I run slowly, and I stop to catch my breath (and I question my sanity on 95-degree days), the running leg of the triangle is now powering the rest of it in ways I had never considered until today’s calming trek through the woods. (The runner voice was right about that and all the rest … except for the ‘wuss’ part.)


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