My first run since December 2, 2014 – I can’t believe it’s been so long. I wasn’t running for distance or speed, just time: 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back for a 30-minute cardio session before my TRX workout. I’m not sure what I was expecting other than maybe the naive expectation of picking up where I left off. Suffice it to say, the run was brutal. I am not sure I have ever attempted running at this weight and every cell in my body lodged a complaint almost immediately. At about nine minutes, when it hadn’t gotten easier and I knew I wasn’t halfway done, the thoughts of quitting started. Over the next few minutes (read: eternity), my mind came up with at least a half dozen ways I could cut a corner and save myself a little misery. I could turn back at 13 minutes; I would be slower on the way back so that would put me home at 30 minutes. I could run 15 minutes out then walk back; it is only my first run so I shouldn’t expect to be able to run the whole way. There were more, each as much a cop-out as the last. Then, just before minute 14, I had a realization. It seems so obvious, so “no duh” when sitting comfortably at a desk but when my lungs were burning and my legs aching and the salt of my own sweat stinging my eyes it seemed a profound realization. Here it is: any corners I cut out on the road, in the gym, on the TRX or with any other workout is not without consequence. I can rationalize them away in a moment of discomfort, convince myself that it is perfectly logical to quit early; however, every time I welsh on a workout I will pay a price. I may pay that price on the scale, I may pay that price when the reality of quitting slams into my conscience like a dump truck on nitrous. One way or another, quitting will come back to haunt me.
I know how this process goes. It’s hard, especially in the beginning. Sure, you start out great and strong and inspired. But then it gets hard – it gets physically hard because workouts are supposed to challenge your body, it gets mentally hard because you are out there on the road knowing that people are home on their couches watching Jeopardy and eating dinner and that seems “normal” and it is exhausting and painful to feel like the special snowflake running while everyone else is relaxing after a long day’s work. Quitting is always – always – going to feel like an option. Hell, most days it’s going to feel like a damned good idea. There will be moments over the course of this process when the quit wins, when I pack it in early or shave a minute off here or there, when it feels too hard. I’m going to have to cope with the consequences of those days. But today I am proud of myself because last night, when I wanted to go home, I stayed out there for 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back, running the whole way.