These were the ruminations in my mind as I was running today. I was thinking about how far I have come. My average pace was 8:38 per mile. When I started running again, my average pace was closer to ten minutes per mile. It's amazing that my pace changed in a short amount of time.
But it was far from easy.
It took steady determination and dedication. It took an early focus on short two to three mile runs. It took a concerted training plan, well-thought-out, researched, and put in my calendar forcing me to stick to a schedule.
It took overcoming my body adjusting to what I was asking it to do: achilles and other foot pain, stretching and strengthening muscles, controlling breathing, dealing with blistering feet, and getting healthy after being sick.
There were (and still are) many reasons to stop. Give up.
This takes sacrifice. Giving up time. Prioritizing. An example was today: I packing my running gear with a plan of running during lunch at work. But then meetings got scheduled. I got interrupted. I pushed my lunch run back to an early afternoon run. Then I convinced myself not to do it. I procrastinated and decided to run when I got home, before I ate dinner. Then there was an accident on the Interstate driving home and I got home late. I was demoralized that my plan was once again changed. And I almost talked myself out of running. But I forced myself to go.
I pushed myself to fight through picking up my pace. I did well until mile four when I had a half mile hill that made me loose control of breathing. I wanted to walk. I thought about walking often. I kept pushing. And after the hill, I was exhilarated, and my breathing fell in line, and I returned to my record pace again.
I'm not trying to be a hero. This is for me. It's a little selfish. I think many runners would agree that running is a selfish act for them also. It's the drive to succeed. It's the determination to overcome sacrifice.
The more I ruminated about sacrifice while running today, the more clarity I had: the sacrifices, no matter how large or small, are a part of our lives. We decide daily where we will and will not sacrifice.
So here's where these thoughts on decisions and sacrifices end tonight. Michelle now has to commute further to work. We have more shared sacrifice on dropping off and picking up Lily from daycare. We both negotiate our careers and parenting, trying to be good at both. We would love for one of us to not have to work so we could stay home with our daughter. But we're not that fortunate. Could we sacrifice more to make that happen? Absolutely. However we've found the most caring, nurturing person to watch our daughter when we are at work. Lily loves this person and we've never felt any angst, guilt, or regret for taking her there. Is it still hard? Yes, oftentimes. But just like running, you push through it. You have a goal. You stick to your plan. You persist. You negotiate and make life work with what you have. Because when you pull up to the house to pick up Lily from daycare, and you see her looking out the window waiting for you, that is one great feeling.
Mile 1 = 8:20
Mile 2 = 8:43
Mile 3 = 8:27Mile 4 = 9:05
Mile 5 = 8:23