This morning as I was lapping my neighborhood at 5:30 am, the mental war that was waging was even more intense than usual. I kept thinking about how if I was in this same physical situation ten years ago I would bounce back in no less than a couple weeks. I'm older now. My muscles take longer to recover. I'm bigger. My body feels different. My frame of balance is not what it used to be. And it's hard. So hard. Then the defeat started sinking in. Why not quit? Not forever, just for today. Just quit. Stop running. Walk back home. Who cares? Who freaking cares.
Because giving in just this once starts a downward spiral that I have sworn to never fall into again. Because quitting today means a reason to quit tomorrow.
Everyone goes through it. You start something new, be it a new exercise regimen, a new diet, a new habit, etc. You start out all fired up and nothing can stop you. Then hard days start to creep in here and there. All of a sudden you don't feel so strong or sure of yourself. You start questioning your reasons for starting in the first place and whether or not it's really that worth it.
Then it hit. A memory. One I had pushed aside soon after it happened because I had deemed it unworthy to ponder (and rightly so). This memory was the final blow. As I was forcing one foot in front of the other over and over again, I remembered something.
It was my first 5k, almost exactly three months ago. I was happy. I was determined. I was a little nervous. I was about halfway through the course, huffing and puffing my way along at a much faster speed than I had ever done in my preparation for this race. I was proud of myself. I was excited, and yet very close to tears (happy ones) as I thought about what I was doing and what it meant for not only me, but also my family.
There were two girls in front of me, running at a slightly slower pace than I was, so I decided to run around them. Just as I got to about 2-3 paces ahead, I overheard the one girl tell the other,
"See? It's when I see someone like that who is pregnant and doing this race that it gives me hope that I won't ever have to quit!"
I looked around. There were women of all shapes and sizes joining me in this race, but at this particular moment in time (of course) not one single girl around me was higher than a size 5.
It was me. I was the "pregnant (one) doing this race and giving her hope that she won't ever have to quit". Awesome. Glad I could help.
The comment really didn't bother me at the time. I knew it was true. I knew to someone that didn't know any better I looked to be about 4-5 months pregnant. That's part of the reason I was out here. I wanted to change. I wanted my pre-baby body back. So that was it. I didn't even turn around. I let it slide right off and hardly blinked an eye.
But that comment didn't go away. It was filed deep into my brain so that on really hard days when I can barely push on it can come back to haunt me. Or fuel me.
Today it haunted...AND fueled.
After I was finished feeling sorry for myself I revisited all the reasons why I was doing this in the first place and came to the conclusion that YES, it is most definitely worth it.
There are hard days. Days where I can barely move faster than a walk. Days where nothing I wear fits right. Days where a complete stranger makes wrong assumptions about me. Days where the pain and hurt force out the joy and triumph. These hard days, I have found, are absolutely worth it.
Because for all the hard days, there are also good, excellent, AMAZING days! The days where I blow my own best out of the water. The days when I can keep up with my kids without stopping to rest. The days where I feel good about myself and what I am teaching my kids through my own trials and victories.
So to the girl who thought I was pregnant, I thank you. May you never quit. May whatever comments that come back to haunt you on your hard days never get the best of you. May they fuel your fire to keep going, to never give up.