The Hard Way or The Easy Way

Something you will hear a lot of runners talk about is the impact running has on other aspects of their lives. While hitting the pavement will not directly affect the dirty dishes in your sink or how much money is in your bank account, it will directly affect how you view your ability to accomplish your goals. It will also affect how you view yourself and how deserving you are of accomplishing those goals.

I said I was going to get shit done this weekend, but today I could have slept all day. When I woke up and pictured my day, I wanted to lay around drinking and watching Mel Brooks movies all day, trying not to obsess over my exes or money or how fat I feel I have gotten. I wanted to eat a family size pizza and then maybe a second pizza. Nothing like putting some food on top of those feelings!

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This could be me every Saturday.

But instead I got up at 6 a.m. and fed the cats, made some coffee and prepared to run some errands. I had to return my old cable box after upgrading, and while they did give me a return label to ship it back, the drop off location is three miles away on foot. So I put on my running shoes. I took the train there to make the drop off. Once I was free of the old box I started my run back.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am a little out of practice. I started with a 10 minute mile (according to my Moves app), but at the 1 mile mark it was easy to let the traffic light be an excuse for a break. I stopped in Target and ran up the stairs (there are a lot of stairs at the Target down by the junction) and bought a water. After my break I felt ready to commit to the last two miles. I ran the rest of the way home at a pace barely above walking at times, at a sprint at other times to make up time from stopping for traffic lights. One mile, and then two miles.

It felt good, and my resolve to get shit done this weekend was revived. Sometimes it is hard to get up and run. Especially when you are feeling down. Pizza is a much easier solution when you want a quick fix, but like most quick fixes, it doesn’t work long term. When motivation is waning it’s helpful to build running into your chores and errands. Make it easy to choose running. I had to get that box returned and knowing from there to here was three miles made it easy to run back. I have a list of places that are 1, 2 or 3 miles away. I can either run there or run home, at the midway point I can grocery shop, get coffee, post a letter,  buy a pie pan, whatever. Now that it’s nice outside, when I am heading home from work I choose to walk to Canal St rather than get on the train at Union Square. It builds distance into my daily commute and it’s one less stop I have to be on the train (I do hate being on the train any longer than necessary).

I no longer want to eat a whole pizza. I want to eat something more nourishing. I still want to watch Mel Brooks movies (and I am going to!), but instead of day drinking and frowning about being broke I am going to work on a new budget plan. I still wish I had not allowed myself to gain a bunch of weight, but I’m not sitting around beating myself up about it. I’m taking every day as a new start to do a little better. Doing yoga as part of my morning routine and walking further as part of my commute and building running into my errands has also lead me to make other things easier. Making a large carafe of coffee in the evening makes it easy to choose not to waste money on iced coffees on the way to work. Making a large pot of a healthy dish makes it easy not to order take out and waste money and calories.

Your life now is not your life as it always will be.

That statement is hopeful because it means you can change things if you are not happy.

But it is also a warning. There is no such thing as staying the same. If you are not getting better you are getting worse.

You don’t have to be perfect (you can’t be actually), but every small victory makes all the other struggles that much easier.

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