Sunday morning I got out of bed a little later than I had hoped. The first thought that surfaced in my head before I even had time to open my eyes was how does my hip feel? The answer: okay. I checked the weather: 98% humidity, 71 degrees and a dew point of 70. As I walked downstairs, the sliding glass doors were cover in condensation. It was muggy outside. A quick change of clothes, a few bites of a bagel, a quick kiss to my husband, a promise to be home no later than 9, and I was out the door. The boardwalk was waiting for me.
I started at the point furthest south, not my usual path. I’ve been focusing on relaxing in my runs more lately. I’ve been trying to listen to what my legs are offering during each run. My plan was to run easy for the first four miles and then I’d turn around and kick it up a notch for the route back to the car. Heading out my run felt clunky. My legs didn’t want to respond. The number on my garmin reflected exactly how I felt. 10:00 flat. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a 10 on my watch. I’ve worked hard to get out of that zone. My brain tried to have a melt down, but I reeled it back in. My legs were tired from the speedy run the night before. It had been less than 12 hours. Forcing my legs to open up might trigger hip pain. I’d rather run pain free. I settled in for the next 3 miles. 9:39. 9:38. 9:35. Clunk clunk clunk. The run felt sluggish and slow, but my body was happy.
Somewhere between mile 4 and 5 my body started to respond. I felt like it whispered thank you for being kind to me this morning, now I’m ready to run. The miles back to my car felt light. They were the perfect balance of pushing myself and enjoying the run. 9:26. 8:46. 8:49. 8:47.
I have a tendency to want things instantly. I want my hip to heal, so it should feel better now. I want to run fast, so I should be faster. I’m hungry. I better eat now or the whole world will know I’m grumpy. I’m ready to leave for work. The boys better be in the car ready to go now too. I’m ready for bed. Christian better follow me on my heels or he will get left in the dark. It’s not my best quality. This run reminded me of that. No matter how fast or far or quick or instantaneously I want it, acknowledging were I am has to be step #1.
If I want my hip to heal, I should probably acknowledge that I’m injured. If I want to run faster, I should probably acknowledge the progress I’ve made so far. This time last year, I ran 12 miles at an 11:10 pace. This weekend I ran 8 miles at a 9:20 pace. Nothing happens right now, over night, or at the exact moment I demand it. Let’s be honest, life shouldn’t work that way. When I rush out the door and hurry up the family, I always forget something of importance. When I panic about eating dinner right now, I take short cuts and ditch the plan for dinner. The quick and now results are never of any quality. Slowing down is not a bad thing. Stressing to go further and faster in both life and running is only going stop forward progress.
After my eight mile run, I promised myself that I would be kind to my body. I would say thank you more often . I would listen when it doesn’t want me to rush. I will avoid short cuts, quick fixes, and rushing out the door. And while I’m at it, I might as well do this in all aspects of my life. There is a time and a place (and sometimes a need) for rushing. Normal day-to-day life (and running) isn’t one of those.