The Carrot

This running life is not always fun.  Looking back over my online running log and all of the times I have clicked the little happy face to say it was a “great run,” I am afraid that my new-to-running friends might be getting the wrong impression about my running life.  I do enjoy the benefits of being fit.  I enjoy the fact that while I watch other people have to sit and take breaks while walking around the National Zoo, it is just a stroll in the park for me.  I enjoy the fact that on our vacation to Maine this summer we were able to bike into parts of Acadia Park that the average person might not get to see. I love the fact that my kids know I can keep up with their active lives.

I also know there are benefits to my healthy lifestyle that go beyond just enjoying myself. Earlier this summer, I started a new breast cancer screening program at our local Breast Center.  The idea is to get a baseline sonogram of my breast tissue to use against future screenings.  The first thing the doctor said to me was how nice it was that there was no fat to have to look through – how much easier it made it to get a good look.  This isn’t the first time a doctor has pointed out a benefit to being fit for screening purposes.

Of course, there are hundreds of studies that tout the benefits of staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle.  Fit people are less likely to have heart issues, diabetes, bad knees, strokes and the list goes on and on.

These are all things I am aware of, but when that alarm sounds at 6am and I know I need to get out of the bed and lace up my shoes, those things don’t seem all that important.  On those mornings all I want to do is crawl back under the covers and enjoy another hour of sleep.  Even on the mornings when I am ready to jump out of bed and go for those runs, it isn’t a guarantee that the run will be fun or even slightly enjoyable.  Yes, I love running but, that is a general statement.  I love running and biking and swimming.  I love being active.  But still, I don’t always love them.  Not every run, swim or ride is inspiring.  Many of them kick my butt.  Some of them are down right horrible.

I hope that people who look at my training log or read my blog will see the good runs for what they are.  They are a blessing that make me keep going back out there.  They are the carrot for all the sticks I have to put up with on the bad ones.  Being fit is fun and beneficial in a thousand ways.  And while the workouts are almost always beneficial, they are not always fun.  The trick, at least my trick, is to keep reaching for that carrot.  Keep rolling out of the bed on those mornings when I want to sleep and heading out the door slogging my way through a not so fun run in search of that run that brightens the world around me, that ride that makes me feel like a ten year old girl again or that swim that washes away all the worries of my day.

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