It was only 8am and it was already getting hot.
I took off for a short two-mile run, something I try to do most mornings after I walk my dogs, and my legs and feet just weren’t feeling it. I was tired. My legs felt heavy. My first thought was, “Just turn around and go home.”
I’ve been a runner since I was a teenager.
I ran countless 10K road races and three marathons in my twenties. But it’s been a few years since I’ve run regularly. I hurt my foot two years ago when I tripped over my then puppy, Faith, and it took forever to heal. I had to stop running. Heck, I couldn’t even walk very well for awhile!
I’ve tried to start running a few times over the past year, and each time, after two or three runs, my foot started hurting again. So I hung up my running shoes and settled for the elliptical machine at the gym, figuring I would at least keep my endurance up.
A few weeks ago I decided to give running another try.
You see, I really need to run. It’s not just physical therapy for me, it’s mental therapy. It’s actually where I figure things out and do most of my writing. Well, in my head at least. The ideas flow better when I’m pounding the pavement. I wouldn’t doubt my lack of running is at least partly to blame for my prolonged uncertainty about my next career step, and the writer’s block I’ve been fighting
Thankfully this time, I’ve been able to maintain almost daily runs for a few weeks and my foot seems to be cooperating. But today, I felt weak and slow. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was just an off day. Who knows?
What I do know is I’m glad I didn’t heed that first inner voice telling me to go back home. Instead, I chose to go slow, something that isn’t easy for this former racer. (In my heyday I even had a license plate on my car that read RACN RNR—short for Racin’ Runner.)
I’m glad I made the decision to go slow and enjoy the ride.
And you know what, the longer I ran, the better I started to feel. It wasn’t a fast run by any means but it turned out to be a good one. I felt better for having done it.
And I realized something… sometimes it’s better to go slow than to not go at all.
The old me, that competitive, hair-on-fire, gotta-get-everything-done-now person, would have probably decided to go back home, figuring running as slow as I did would be considered a failure. But the new me, the one that’s learning to let go and let life happen more than make it happen, is learning to appreciate that sometimes just showing up is worthwhile.
So what if it takes a little longer to get there.
At least you’re moving forward. And that’s a lot better than standing still. Because you know what, if you stand still, you’ll never get there. If you’re at least moving, you will eventually arrive. And this applies to life just as much as it does to my run today.