At the beginning of the week I started running two ten minute intervals with a three-minute walk in between. That was two minutes longer than I had ever run before and it intimidated me. On my first run, everything seemed like it was going fine. I finished the first ten minute interval without too much of a problem and was half way through my second, when for some reason I started walking. Now usually I am arguing with myself the entire time I’m running, one part of me saying how I should just walk for a bit until I’m less tired and the other part of me saying no, we are not stopping, we can do this. This time there was no argument, my legs just stopped running. I walked for a while and thought, that’s okay I just needed a little break. I started running and in less than a minute there I was walking again. What was going on? I finished up my run but the feeling of failure was overwhelming and I went home disappointed in myself. Once I got home I realized that before I had even started my run for the day I had given myself permission to quit. I told myself that ten minutes was too long, that it would be too hard and if I needed to, I could just walk. It’s not like anyone would know I failed. Except I knew. And it sucked.
The thing about quitting is that once you do it, it becomes easy. I could see how quickly I could go back to giving in any time things were hard. The first time I started walking may have been excusable, it was hot and I was struggling, but the second was just about me not liking how uncomfortable I felt. I didn’t believe that I could finish the run and I proved myself right. I started out thinking it was impossible and because of that, it was. Walking back to my car awash in my failure, I realized that this feeling of regret was not worth the thirty seconds of easy breathing walking gave me. I knew if went home feeling like this again, I wouldn’t be running anymore.
The next day, I headed back out to the lake determined to redeem myself from the previous day’s failure. I told myself there would be no walking. Even if it meant that I slowed down to a snail’s pace, it would be a jogging snail’s pace. With my goal clearly in mind I completed my run without walking a step and without wanting to. I found the void quickly that day and it carried me through to the end. The feeling of pride was almost indescribable. I was so thoroughly elated with my accomplishment that I was grinning the entire way back to my car, despite the sweat dripping down my beet-red face. That’s why I keep doing this, so that I remember what I can accomplish when I believe in myself. My next run that week was twenty minutes straight with no walking at all, and I did it. Amazing.