Awesome # 328: Pushing Through

It’s funny – the very morning I wrote my post of awesome about accepting adversity, I’d gone for one of the more adverse runs I’ve ever experienced. This run was adverse not because conditions were particularly abrasive – the sun was shining, the wind was tame and the temperature was relatively mild (-15 degrees Celsius). Rather, this run was adverse because it was my first run – and a winter run at that – after a good 2 months of exercising indoors, in other ways than running.

After 2 months of jump-roping and yoga, my body’d grown unaccustomed to the extensive, repetitive pounding of legs on pavement, and this morning’s fresh blanket of snow did little to cushion the effect. In fact, the snow had only imposed more of a challenge, as I had to brace myself constantly for the black ice that it possibly covered up. My lungs had grown unaccustomed to that “deep, heavy runner’s pant meets fresh outdoor air” experience, and it being -15 degrees Celsius had made it all the more difficult to establish some sort of steady breathing (for the first time in years, I found myself gasping for air). Also, though I was properly dressed, I was ill-equiped to deal with a runny nose and constant fogged-up glasses as sweat met the icy air (in other words, I had no Kleenex), and my mind had forgotten all the dips and peculiarities in the road that it once knew, and that had once allowed me to run in the winter with obstructed vision before (running sans glasses is not so much an option for this gal).

I got to the airport – 25 minutes in and halfway through my run – yearning for my yoga mat and longing for home. At that point, I’d have been tempted to, had there actually been a single bit of traffic, hitchhike home.

But with my acceptance post still fresh in my mind, I contemplated, as I stretched in the airport parking lot, what it is exactly that I’m to accept in this situation and came up with this:

I accepted the possibility that perhaps this run was a bit ambitious, but I also accepted the reality that the 45-minute walk home would be far more excruciating – with freezing sweat and the frost melting off of my clothes, than just finishing the run. I accepted the reality that I needed to just slow down, as well as the possibility that I’d need to stop more often than before to either catch my breath or try, in vain, to clean my glasses. With this giving me a figurative kick in the thermal running pants, I decided to push through, and I set out for home.

And when a lone truck did drive by me approximately 1/3 of my way back, rather than stick out my thumb, I smiled, waved and kept running – I pushed through. I pushed through because this may very well be the only run I get to enjoy even remotely in who knows how long; because, not even a year ago, I was stuck with a knee injury that left me questioning whether I’d ever be able to run again; because the change of pace and the change of scenery in my exercise routine refreshing; and because a small part of me knew that I hadn’t lost the ability to do it, I was just uncomfortable and unaccustomed. I pushed through, knowing that had I not, I’d have only perpetuated the notion that I was incapable of doing it, as well as deprived myself of the opportunity to prove to myself otherwise.

In all honesty, I was still very glad for it to be over by the time I’d returned home, but I was, from the moment I left the airport, or at least from the moment that that truck drove by, able to find some pleasure in the endeavour. Embracing it, I basked in the vivid arctic sun, relished the sound of the snow crunch rhythmically beneath my feet, and drank in the vista around me as I grew less concerned about black ice, reacquainted with the terrain, and used to my foggy glasses.

The fact that I pushed through was awesome for these reasons. But, more than that, the fact that I pushed through was awesome because, in the end, I was able to relish the satisfaction of having pushed through – of having finished, of having not given up, and of having proven to myself what I am capable of. This satisfaction was far greater than that which comes with doing something less challenging.

With that said, there’s a part of me that’s hoping I get to do it again next weekend. Had I not pushed through, who knows when I’d go for a run again.

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