We had our last long run this past weekend before Shamrock’n on Sunday. It was funny…I felt more anxious about running 10 miles than I had felt for our 12 mile run the previous weekend. Looking back now, it probably had more to do with a stressful week than the actual miles themselves, but still. It didn’t matter how many miles I’d gone, it was how many I had left to go that consumed every thought and every step.
Our long run plan was a little different this week. Sarah was out of town for a super rad photography conference so there were just two of us hitting the pavement for ten. And for seven or eight miles, I was so grateful just to catch up with Dina and to find out what’s new in her world. She’s so speedy, we don’t always get to chat during our runs, but Saturday was a little different. I was so, so grateful for the distraction and our conversation. All the better if we could keep the conversation having very little to do with me.
It was so much easier to NOT focus on myself.
But that only worked for so long.
As it often is, the last mile was one of the very hardest. Additionally, the conversation had shifted a bit to a few things that have been on my mind and suddenly it all felt way too heavy.
So I let myself just stop.
I stopped running. I stopped trying to ignore it all and I finally let myself catch my breath – both figuratively and metaphorically. (Well, at least for a little bit. I was so annoyed, I just wanted to finish and we were SO CLOSE to the cars.) I stopped – and let myself have a break – so that I could finish a really hard run.
I did a lot of stepping back this weekend so that I could catch my breath in other areas of my life. It may not have looked like it from the outside, but it sure felt that way to me. I said no to things. I unplugged a little. I didn’t engage in (potentially) toxic conversations just because I’m normally too polite to shut them down. I said yes to impromptu Sunday brunches because you should always say yes to impromptu Sunday Brunches. (Unless there is a potential for toxic conversations, I guess. Then it should be a HARD PASS.) I also said no to doing more laundry and yes to reading an actual book. For fun. Because I just really needed it, you guys. Even if it seemed counter-intuitive. Because we feel like we should always keep going and never stop so that you check off all the things and run all the miles.
But I let myself stop so that I could, eventually, keep going.
I’m not saying that I loved waking up to the Monday morning after setting the clocks forward. But I did wake up feeling like I had actually had a bit of a break during my weekend. Catching my breath helped me to speak up when I needed to and ready work hard to get things done. I was able to meet deadlines and ask for help when I realized I was in a bind and couldn’t do it all myself. I felt empowered to let things go – especially when it didn’t deserve my attention. And I was reminded that it is MY choice how I handle difficult situations and people.
Or difficult runs. Those too.