When less is more, or if you can see the brick wall, by all means, stop

Lately, my running pace has been way off. I’ll be cruising along, about to hit the two mile mark when suddenly, without warning, my legs stop moving. I don’t trip, or fall, or anything like that. I’m moving, and then suddenly, I’m not. Like someone pressed the walk switch. My heart isn’t racing, I’m not breathing any harder than usual, but no amount of coaxing can get my body to move any faster.

I switched to a high protein cereal. Added a bagel thin. Added a bagel thin with cream cheese. Added a bagel thin with egg. Added a banana. Definitely not a fuel issue. Not a lack of water intake.

It’s not my bad knee, either. In fact, having to walk the mile to get home hurts more than running. Running is fine. Walking turns my bursa into a water balloon.

I have various running paths at my disposal–from 2 miles to 5 miles. I can extend them though loops and switchbacks, except for the three mile path. Once I’m on it, I’m committed. I can make it longer, but not shorter. Even though I’ve had to stop and walk for the last four days, I set out saying that it will be different today, and plow forward on the 3 mile trail, even if my body feels like I’ve put it through the ringer.

I view my determination as a positive trait. But I have to wonder if it holds me back as well. These aborted three mile runs take forever (due to the walking), require icing afterwards, and a nap in the afternoon. That’s about 2 hours to make up for 9 minutes of run time. Not a good tradeoff. Besides that, the big squishy knee doesn’t look good with shorts, although it really grosses my son out. Every cloud has its silver lining.

I forget there is a wisdom in how the world works, and perhaps, at this moment, I’m meant to run two miles and no more. Just because I’m capable of doing something, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. After all, I can run my car into a brick wall, but you don’t see me doing that either.

My body is clearly sending me a message–I’m tired. Cut me some slack.  We’ll get back to the longer runs soon. Just not right now. It also makes me wonder what other messages I’ve missed. It might be a good time to start listening.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Stuart Crawford ©2010 Creative Commons

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4 comments on “When less is more, or if you can see the brick wall, by all means, stop

  1. whimsygizmo says:

    Oh, YES. This:
    “Just because I’m capable of doing something, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.”

    I must meditate upon this wisdom today. And perhaps, if I am smart, obey it. Oh, my.

  2. muddykinzer says:

    Oh boy! Some days I can run forever, & some days getting out the door is a struggle and the following run is pure torture. I like how you’re reading your body as tired and honoring that! There are times it’s good to push past the fatigue, but I wish I was better at recognizing the times when a nap will do me better than a run. Once again, you’re ahead of the curve!

    • I set out for a solid two miles at a decent pace today (I also saw my acupuncturist–which did wonders). I think the act of completing something helped me more today than shooting higher and falling short. Sometimes it’s those good solid efforts that allow one to push ahead the next day.

  3. Sopphey says:

    “It might be a good time to start listening.”

    I love this because it’s absolutely true.

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