Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I can do just about anything for one minute

One thing you have to know about me when I go for runs; I talk myself out of running the entire time my legs are pumping. Today was no different. I took off for my run (not the least bit excited) in what felt like 0 degree weather and my lungs instantly tightened up. I started coughing like crazy and I'm pretty sure I was tasting the snot running down my face. Delicious. I pushed on (mind you, it had only been about 25 seconds) and then my legs started to hurt. It may have only taken about .15 miles for me to start thinking about walking to "ease into it". I mean, things got a little crazy during the holiday weekend and I thought I may be smart not to push it. Luckily that thought didn't last long as I instantly thought, if I don't push through today, when will it be? That often seems like the problem doesn't it? It's always tomorrow, or next week or next year. For whatever reason we always expect conditions to be perfect when doing something we really don't feel up to. Today's run was no exception.

Nothing is ever going to be perfect though. I pressed on. After getting over the initial shock of the cold and frigid air, I eased into a comfortable pace and kept moving forward. I was still thinking about all of the other things that I would rather be doing, but those were balanced by thoughts of all the stuff I've been able to do thanks to my new "lease on life" since changing some things up regarding exercise and treatments. Just as I was getting more comfortable with the idea of running the full 1.8 mile loop, it hit me. Numbness. See, I had on two shirts (one of them being long-sleeved), but I had on my running shorts. Roughly .5 mile into my run, my legs were numb. Sweet! The fact that I didn't have to deal with the pain in my legs during the last part of my run was an unexpected bonus. It's almost as if I had been given a gift.

Since I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I knew that my regular 1.8 mile loop wasn't going to cut it. My breathing pattern was holding steady and I couldn't feel my legs; this was as perfect as it was going to get. I pressed on. I extended my loop and tried to pick up my pace. While I wasn't able to keep an increased pace for the last 1.5 miles of my run, I did sustain a quicker pace for at least half of it. My legs certainly tired after the first 1.8, but that's only because I'm pretty conditioned for that distance. One thing I need to get better at is switching up the lengths of my runs so muscle memory doesn't play to large of a role in fatigue. I guess we can just add it to the ever-growing list of things to work on :)

As I was nearing the home-stretch, I thought about all of the times I wished I had pushed it a bit more during the last part of my runs. There are many times that after getting home and figuring out my pace, I think to myself "if only I would have pushed it a little bit more I could have gotten under XX minutes. Dangit!". I didn't want this to be one of those times. But wait a second, my legs were tired, my coughing was picking up and I wasn't breathing nearly as well as I was a couple miles back. I wanted to push it, but did I really have the capacity to do so? That's when a little voice popped in my head, "Come on Ronnie, you can do ANYTHING for one minute!".
True. I took off in a sprint. I mean, if I had to endure one minute of being short of breath, in pain and even more tired, was it worth it? Absolutely! I wanted a better time. I wanted to show my body who's boss. I didn't want the same regret that comes after some of my other runs. I knew I could pick up the pace for a minute. And wouldn't you know it, 53 seconds later I arrived at my doorstep. Mission accomplished.

Imagine if we started doing stuff that we really didn't want to do for just a minute longer? All of those minutes would sure add up. I'm sure one minute would then lead into two, then to 5, 10 and so on. With most of the stuff we put off or avoid it only takes that first step. The decision that enduring "pain" for one more minute everyday may be worth one more year to us. Now, maybe you don't see that kind of return on your minute, but I'll tell you this, you'll never ever regret doing something good for yourself after you're done.

So here's the question, what can you do for one more minute today?