There is challenging yourself, and there is being stupid. Sometimes, I fail in discerning the two. Today though, I can proudly say I showed a bit of wisdom for once. I challenged myself but managed to say “No thanks!” when the opportunity for stupidity came along.
Regular readers of this blog (I believe there are four poor souls in that category) know that yesterday I started running again. It isn’t really a New Year’s resolution but just part of trying to practice what I preach. Taking care of the body is a large part of holistic living, and holistic living goes a long way toward health and happiness. So yesterday I put on my running shoes and shook the rust off with an easy jog of a couple of miles. It felt fantastic. Seriously. My endorphins kicked in quickly and it literally improved my mood and energy level the entire day.
That was yesterday. Starting a regimen of any sort is the easy part. The challenge is keeping the motivation going. It’s surprising how many times we start something and it lasts all of one day. So, in its own way, the second day is a first day in its own right, and just as important as the actual first day. The good news is I did it. I ran the second day as well. And I even challenged myself a little bit–I added a small amount of distance and I invited my daughter along.
Now, you need to know my daughter is a very talented runner. She finished third in the West Virginia state championship 10k race a year-and-a-half ago and she had never even run that far in her life before the day we ran the race. So the plan was she would match my pace until we got within about a half-mile of finishing and then she could stretch it out from that point if she chose to.
To her credit, she made it almost a mile of the 2.5 miles that we ran before she just couldn’t hold back any more. She started to stretch her legs a bit and soon she was twenty yards ahead, then thirty, then fifty, etc. This is when stupidity came knocking at the door in the form of my ego. Being left in one’s daughter’s dust is not something easy for a man about to turn fifty. You literally see your youth running away from you in the form of black nylon and pink Saucony running shoes.
So my ego piped up–“Come on boys! We can catch her!” Now my ego is a rather charming fellow at times, so my conscious mind and my body huddled for a quick consultation. Fortunately, they saw that the better part of valor was honestly just admitting that trying to catch her was a fool’s errand and resisted the temptation in beautiful style, informing the ego that chasing a nineteen-year-old in top shape was just plain silly. But my ego wasn’t done. “What’s wrong–you like the taste of that dust old man?” Now insults can be difficult to take from anyone, but when your ego is actually baiting itself, you’ve moved into new, and somewhat surreal, psychological territory. But once again, conscious mind and body stood together and resisted the urge. My ego must be getting a bit old itself, since it grumbled its way back into the deeper recesses of my mind and I’m sure is skulking there still. But it didn’t put up too much fight. Common sense prevailed and now I will live to run another day (which I’m not sure would have been the case if I had actually tried to catch Carly).
The run ended nicely. Carly finished about four minutes before I did and was waiting in my parent’s driveway when I cruised in. High-fives and stretching followed–as well as those wonderful endorphins that make me question why I ever quit running in the first place. Wait a minute–I didn’t quit. I just took a break for a while. But I ran today and I can look in the mirror and say “You sir, are a runner!” Even my ego is satisfied with that.