Dust Yourself Off

Sometimes while running I feel like I am flying.  Of course I am aware that my running speed is more comparable to the tortoise than the hare.  However, I can’t help but enjoy the feeling of the wind blowing through my hair and love the excitement that fills my body as I see the stopwatch on my Garmin going faster and faster.  I long for those runs when I finish my goal distance and want to keep going.  I adore those times when I have a smile on my face while running, knowing that I am treating my body to exercise at the same time I am feeding my soul by being alone with my own thoughts and personal reflection.  Running always seems like the best way for me to burn off any aggression I may be struggling with, and to feel rejuvenated when I am finished.

Monday, however, was a different story.  From the moment I started moving I could tell it wasn’t going to be pretty.  My legs literally felt like lead, it was over 80 degrees outside at 5:30 pm (so hot for March!), I was tired and probably even a little grouchy (might as well share the whole true story!).   I remember wanting this run to be over so bad and not understanding why I felt like this coming off such a high from my Saturday run.  I ran six miles on St. Patrick’s Day morning and felt…alive.  My breathing was pretty regular, my legs felt light, the sun was making an appearance without being blazing warm, and I was in the right mindset.  Monday’s run was a ‘measly’ two miles, chump change to most runners and/or bloggers.  For me on the other hand, no run is considered an easy run in my book.  I always have to push myself and challenge myself to succeed.  The people I compete with the most in this type of situation is me, myself and I.  I expect perfection and when I don’t get it; my mind can play tricks and try to convince me that my goal is unattainable.  In most aspects of my life I feel confident and prepared.  When it comes to running though, that confidence level tends to fall to the wayside.  On this particular day, my mind got the best of me, and at 1.4 miles in I decided I couldn’t run anymore and told Tim I needed a walking break.  We had a great pace going, right around 8:30- 8:45 minute miles.  I have been working hard to hit that less than 17 minutes mark for our 2 milers, but I felt exhausted and a tad lethargic Monday and doubted my ability to finish the run.  I was so disappointed that I could actually feel tears welling up in my eyes, and wondered what was wrong with me:   How could I go from running 6 miles to not even being able to run 2 miles?  (Again, this was me not being rational and not in the right mindset)!  I told Tim I wanted to walk to the stop sign about .1 miles ahead and then start running again.  He agreed, and a few minutes later I was back to running a pace closer to 8:15, trying to make up for the time I had spent walking. 

That is when it happened.  I was running close to the curb on a street with no sidewalks when a patch of gravel came out of nowhere.  I felt my left foot hit the ground, but there was no traction under my shoe.  My foot slipped out from under me and I could feel my body hit the ground in a slow and scary, but calm, motion.  I laid there for a few seconds and whipped my neck around to see my husband reaching down to help peel me off the blacktop.  I had a bloody palm with gravel embedded into my skin, a bent thumbnail with blood coming from the nail bed, a scratched up elbow and a matching scraped hip bone.  In hindsight though, it could have been a lot worse.  I lucked out with no ligament or bone damage, and didn’t have a scratch on my head or my face. 

Do you know what hurt the most though out of all the cuts, blood and bruises?

My pride.  That pain stung my heart even more than the physical pain I was feeling from the fall.  I felt like a failure, like I try so hard only to have my efforts shot down when I needed reassurance the most.  I couldn’t help it when tears came streaming down my cheeks.  I was exhausted and embarrassed, but not about the fall.  I was more upset that I would base my self-worth on this run, that I would limit my own abilities and compare this run to past successes.  I am so very hard on myself in all aspects of my life.  I was like this in school and in organized sports, and I am now like this in every aspect of my adult life.  Work, being a wife, homemaker, hostess, blogger, friend, runner, etc.  I look for that perfection and beat myself up if I don’t meet those expectations I set.

After I confirmed to my husband that I was physically okay we started walking back to the house.  Tim put his arm around me, used his shirt to help with my bleeding, and casually let me cry in his arms without saying a word.  I didn’t need to talk about all the things in my head at that moment, all I really needed was a good cry and I was blessed he was there to comfort me in that moment.  Ten minutes later, the tears had slowed and he asked me if I wanted to lightly jog the rest of the way home.  I agreed and once again I was ‘flying,’ feeling the wind on my wet, tear stained face.  You want to know something?  That cry made me feel so much better.  I don’t care what people say about being tough, or sucking it up.  Sometimes we are being the toughest when we do cry and admit we are human and that we all make mistakes.  That night, Tim ran out and picked us up dinner, bought me antibiotic ointment & bandages (how romantic!  Ha!), and tucked me into bed at 8:00 pm. 

The next morning I woke up a little physically sore, but feeling rejuvenated.  Who knew that a good night’s sleep and a heartfelt cry was all I really needed.  While living our lives, we are going to come across hard times and moments when we feel incapable, or less than perfect.  Just remember that little things will feel so huge in the moment, but those feelings will pass and life will go on.  I took a break from running Wednesday to give my body and mind a little more rest.  This was especially important for me to acknowledge since part of the half-marathon running deal I made with myself was a promise that I will listen to my body and give it the rest it needs.   I instead had a nice little elliptical session in my living room while watching Something Borrowed, (I love that movie.  The book is a must read)! 

With a rested mind and body, I now feel ready for my next run, a 7 miler this weekend (tonight!).  I am nervous and excited, but I know that no matter what happens during that time I need to forgive myself for the past and approach this experience with a clean slate.  Running should be fun, just like life should be.  Remember to take that time for self-reflection and look for ways to find contentment in all things.  Also, if all else fails, remember that extra rest…


…and a good cry doesn’t seem to hurt either.

17 thoughts on “Dust Yourself Off

  1. I can relate so much to this post, Jana. Sometimes a good cry cures all. I too fall into that trap of feeling like I have to be perfect at everything in life. I guess it’s just part of our type A personalities. Runs aren’t always perfect. Sometimes our bodies just don’t want to go as fast as we want them to. Sometimes our mind gets in the way and tells us to quit before our bodies do. It’s okay to have a bad run. The only way to learn in life is to learn from mistakes or negative experiences, and grow from it. There’s nowhere to grow from if you don’t have a foundation. Take this experience and grow from it. It sounds like you got a pretty great and supportive husband. Your 7 miler will be great – don’t put so much pressure on yourself and sometimes that’s the magic.

    • Thanks for the insight girl! I definitely think that moment of frustration I had was something we can all relate to at some point. That is why I love to share the good, the bad and the ugly. It allows us to realize we are never alone in our feelings even if it seems that way sometimes.

  2. I LOVE this post…. So honest. I can relate to this, as I’m sure most runners can. Sometimes a run is amazing, and other times a run just plain old sucks. Good for you for listening to your body, and good luck tonight!!!! I’m sure it’ll make up for that crappy run!

  3. I know your exact pain as I took my Triathlon bike out for the first time ever this week and took 2 falls. Definitely a pride buster. Glad you have such a supportive husband that was there to comfort you. And oh yes, sometimes you just need a good cry. Hugs to you. Now, get back out there and do your thing!! =)

    • Thanks Heidi! I appreciate the encouragement! I read about your falls earlier this week and I couldn’t believe how similar my own feelings were to yours! It just took me a few days to gather my thoughts and gather enough courage to share my story too 🙂

  4. Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you’re okay! That fall could have been so much worse! I think every runner can relate to this post, sometimes you just feel like crap and don’t want to run! Just keep going, girl!

  5. Thank you for being so honest in this post. I really appreciate that you are so genuine and share the good times AND the struggles, and that your perspective always comes back to something positive. I’m learning more and more through your blog that you have been blessed with wisdom and kindness 🙂

    • Thank you for being such an avid reader, and I am so happy that you can relate to the good and bad moments that I share. I find that it helps me, and I think it helps my readers as well, to realize that we all have been in a rocky state, both physically and mentally, at some point and we don’t need to feel alone. I appreciate the support!

  6. Great message in this post Jana! I am often like you and beat myself up when something doesn’t go perfectly or how I imagined it too. And the same as you, I often find myself feeling great running a higher mileage (which really isn’t high, but for me it is) and then struggle to get out a mile the next day! It’s so annoying, but just know that you are not alone and that it really doesn’t define you. I’m so glad that you were able to cry and let it all out- that is so necessary sometimes :).

  7. This message is so genuine. I can relate to this so well. Many of the challenges and frustrations in life are created from our own feelings of inadequacy. An emotional release, like a good cry, is cleansing for the mind, body and soul. Wonderful message and reminder to us all.

  8. Oh Jana, I love this 🙂 Well, I don’t love that you fell! But everything you said is so true. Sometimes all you need is to just “break down” a little and really feel everything to get over it.

    It’s so common to have those “bad runs” but sometimes it’s hard not to put the pressure on yourself to have the perfect workout all the time. Whenever I *think* about me or others running, I imagine running lightning fast and effortlessly, like you described. Sometimes it can just be so disappointing when we realize that it’s not always that way.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better 🙂 Love ya!

  9. This was a really good post and I’m happy you wrote it! I loved the message, and I think everyone deals with that “go big or go home” mentality all the time that sometimes we forget about the small achievements we have. Keep on writing Jenna, and keep up the good work! There’s a lot that people (like me) could learn from you! 🙂

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