I was at the beginning of a long evening run this past week on my favorite lake route kind of lost in my mind and dreaming as I looked at the beautiful homes I passed. I think I was in the process of fantasizing which house suited me best as I planned my upcoming imaginary move to the neighborhood I used to do this all the time as a little girl. Fantasizing out my bedroom window was one of my favorite things to do!
Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that it was a beautiful hot evening and I hadn’t seen one person out on their dock or sitting on their porch. Weird. It struck me as incredibly weird. So I started making a point of noticing and counting how many people I saw. I spent over an hour running and only saw 3 groups of 3 or 4 people enjoying the beauty literally right in their backyard. My first thought was immediately how odd it was and my second thought was a bit self righteous. When I live here I will be appreciating the beauty and enjoying it every single day! I will never take it for granted. I will be grateful. Hold that thought!
The run got increasingly harder several miles later and I found myself struggling by mile 6. I started to feel light headed in the extreme humidity and my right upper thigh started aching. I hung in there until mile 8. Crap. This sucks, I thought to myself. Today was supposed to be the week I bumped up to 11 miles and here I was unable to do 10. And then I stopped running. Yup. I quit and decided to start the shame walk home after cutting the run short. Now let me add that walking really isn’t shameful. Well, except for me! I just hate having to walk! If I walk once, I will walk a million times so I rarely walk.
So during my shame walk I ruminated about how much this sucked. I had really been struggling lately. I hadn’t lost any weight in 3 months. I started trying all sorts of things to get it going again. I tried Crossfit, lifting, supplements. Nothing helped until I started the Paleo diet. I restricted my carbs and I lost 4 pounds in one week. Great, right? Nope. I felt dizzy and light headed all the time and my running suffered. I couldn’t sustain the mileage I had gotten up to on the diet. I had become a training gypsy subscribing to too many training plans.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was so focused on losing “more weight” and getting “more fit” that I hadn’t at all been grateful for how far I had come. Gratitude. The exact same judgement I had projected on all the folks not appreciating the lake applied to me. In my mind I started to realize that I had a choice right then. I could stop the nonsense. Stop the beating myself up over not finishing 2 more miles this week. Stop checking the scale every single day. I could make the decision to be grateful I had legs to run, a heart that beats strongly in spite of having some cracks and breaks over the years. I could take the time to listen to and learn what my body needs. I could find the balance in striving for a goal in a way that is enjoyable and fulfilling.
I don’t know if the folks living on the lake were out to dinner during my run Saturday night or if they really aren’t grateful for the beauty they have right in their back yard. And in truth it isn’t even my place to know or make the determination! Either way, tonight I was reminded how often it is that we project our own thoughts and feelings about ourselves on others. Tonight I was reminded of the importance of staying grateful for what I have and what I have accomplished. God I love running!