Tuesday, March 29, 2011

running through it

There was a point recently when I was exhausted by all of the ways I was stretching to do new things. I was describing this feeling to someone, and knowing that I'm a runner, he asked me, "What do you do when you get a side-sticker?"

"Stop," I said. "Or slow down."

"Or," he said, "you could run through it."

He had some cross-country friends when he was a student at Oxy, and he'd go running with them for fun. There was no way to get through those runs but to run through the pain, he told me. (For those of you who aren't familiar with the campus and surrounding area -- it's hilly!)

How telling my response was! Stopping, or at least slowing down, is how I respond to most stressors in life, especially when I'm being asked to do more or develop a new skill. I even have this thing where, when I start out for a run, especially if I'm not feeling very strong or if I'm attempting a longer run than usual, I tell myself, "You can always stop." It makes me feel safe enough to take on the run. There's probably something valuable about this option for some people, but for people like me, who default to playing it safe and reducing pain, it's not always helpful.

And I'm not just talking about running here. I have these safety clauses in most areas of my life. Something like, "If you feel uncomfortable/unprepared/unable/not safe/afraid, then just default to hiding/shutting down/staying away/avoiding/etc."

But I want more. I want to learn to push through, to stay active and to learn something in the process.

My sister wrote about some running advice and inspiration she's been mulling over, and yesterday I finally watched the video she referred to. At the end, there's an interview with Amy Hastings, who recently placed second in the LA marathon. She describes feeling pain unlike she's ever felt before.

But instead of stopping, she ran through it. Something I'm hoping to learn to do.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this...a good challenge to keep going! I think I've been tempted to "stop" on at least a daily basis recently. Your post also reminds me of some other Jack Daniels advice - that when you're running a race (or completing a training run) and feeling tempted to stop, speed up first, because sometimes instead of a break, what you really need is a change of pace...good stuff!

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