I've recently started running again since I have this half marathon in Puerto Rico in November and a few random races between now and then. Besides, it's about time I pick a workout and stick to it.
I was apprehensive about starting the run again. Last time I considered myself a runner my hip bothered me enough I decided to stop running. It's be a long while since. But I always enjoyed the mental release from running. My body craves the exertion. My muscles love the work.
Starting a running program, like any exercise program takes attention and care. Paying attention to the signals from your joints and muscles, learning the difference between fatigue and a cramp. When do you push for more mileage? Speed? Time? If you push for too much too soon, then you risk injury, sickness, long term fatigue. Paying attention to the signals your body gives you allows you to know when to push forward, hold back a bit, or hold it steady.
It's like starting a new relationship. If you push too fast and too soon you risk the emotional injury. Opening yourself up, getting to know someone is scary. And the risk for emotional injury is big.
It's ok to have the guard up. Test the water. You move along together, you learn about each other. You figure out how you fit together. I like you, you like me, let's pursue this further.
Sometimes there are bumps, hills, cracks. Sometimes you have to slow the pace a bit. Does this feel right? Is this what I want? Is this worth it? Am I settling?
Sometimes things are flat and smooth. So you push forward. Share some personal information. Share the intimacy. Build the trust. Take a chance and jump the gap.
And sometimes things are just good. And you hold it steady. Do you have the same goals? Are you on the same page? Do your feelings match your level of trust and intimacy? Is there balance? Then hold it steady. Don't rock the boat.
I've been emotionally injured before. Most of us have. When I start a new relationship I take the things I have learned in running and apply them. It doesn't matter where I want the relationship to go if the parts needed to make it work are not there.
When I'm on a run I ask myself, is this good? Is this worth the pain I will have tomorrow? Does this feel right? And if the answer is yes, I keep going. I push for more. I push longer. Doing a periodic check in with my body keeps me from pushing too hard and keeps me injury free.
When I start a new relationship I ask the same questions. Is this good? Is this worth the pain and frustration? Does this feel right? And if the answer is yes, I keep going.
Most of the time I find myself pushing, reaching for more, when what I need to do is relax and hold it steady. Just enjoy the ride.
And quit rocking the boat.