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Just one small step off course

standard March 25, 2010 Leave a response

On Friday I ran the last of the week 4 Couch to 5k training runs.

It was a good run. I felt great about myself as I pushed myself through the last minute of the run. It was the third time that week that I had run a total of 16 minutes (in four intervals, but still!) and I was feeling really upbeat about taking on Week 5 with its first “serious” runs.

I took the weekend off, knowing that my body needed to rest so I could face the tough challenge of the new training runs.  

Monday morning I woke up with a cough and a wrenched shoulder.

I ignored the cough and took some ibuprofen for my shoulder, but I worried all day about the run ahead. A part of me knew that it wasn’t wise to head out for something that would definitely be challenging when my shoulder was bothering me and my lungs were more than just a bit raspy. But, as you know, I have a history of letting small things detract me from my exercise goals, and I was terrified that one missed run would signal the end of this particular road.

All day I thought about my run. All day I felt my shoulder ache. All day I coughed. And yet I hashed out a tentative plan. Heat before the run to loosen the tight shoulder, ice after to make it feel better.

And then at 10, sitting on the couch, coughing every few minutes, I realized it was dumb to push myself when I was clearly ill and hurt. Even then I struggled with my decision to stay put.

I’m an all or nothing girl. I’m not good at rationalization. I’m not good at believing myself when I promise that it’s just a hiatus, not the end. When I diet I’m hard core. I can’t “cut back.” I create a firm plan I never let myself deviate from. Because I know myself. It’s never just “one” cookie. It’s one cookie followed by a “well, I cheated there, so I might as well cheat here” french fry, then a “well, since this day is shot” off plan dinner, and before you know it I’ve deviated so far off course that I can’t even see my way back to the original plan.

This night off felt like that first step off course and I was terrified I wouldn’t know how to get back.

Three nights later my cough is finally easing up and my shoulder doesn’t hurt any more. I’m starting to itch to go run instead of itch to go crawl under the covers. That itch is why, for the first day this week, I’m starting to believe that this really is just a bump in the road and not another dead end in my running career. I’ve checked in with a few other runners and I think I have a plan for my re-entry into the C25K plan.

On Saturday, when I’m good and better, I’m going to start Week 4 again. I’m going to run all three runs over the following days, and then, next week, I’ll start Week 5.

A week late. But not never. I’m not letting a little cough and a little pain derail me this time.

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