Listen to The 20 Minute Runner Podcast



Click the upper right corner of the player above for quick access to past shows!


When sending email, please include your first name, city/state or country. Your email may be shared on a podcast. Also, feel free to send me a short mp3 or wav audio file. I might play it during a podcast. Your comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Best Choice

When I finally got home yesterday, I was bushed. My legs ached; my head ached. My whole body ached. The results of too little sleep, too much caffeine and a schedule that has more packed into it than a 5-pound bag holding 6 pounds of potatoes.

My schedule did not allow for much early this morning either. You see, I am typically a morning runner. But with an early morning obligation—and I mean early—I had to weigh whether I would run after the obligation was met this morning, or whether I would run last night with the aching legs, head—you get the picture. Or perhaps I would take option three: not run at all.

So last evening, after greeting the family, dropping my backpack on the floor and sitting down in front of the 6:00 news, I made the announcement: “Hey guys, I think I’m going running.” There, I had said it and could not back down, any more than I can back down when I say that I am going to take someone to the hospital or go and help a friend in crisis. Saying the words put the first part of the run in motion. I had mentally tricked myself before myself had time to block, or even punt. As runners, we tend to be folks who keep our word. We also tend to be folks who know that once the run begins in earnest, the aches and pains will probably be forgotten. Those discomforts are excuses for not running; they are not reasons.

As I neared the halfway point in my run, I realized I had overshot my turn-around time by about five minutes. My mind has a way of drifting when I run. You may be that way too. My 70-minute excursion would now be 80 minutes. But you know, it did not matter. I was feeling good and actually thought I might go 90, but decided against it.

Cruising along at the 70 minute mark, I thought about why I was even entertaining the idea of not running to begin with. I mean, what could be better than knowing I had overcome the potential obstacles and made the announcement that had set it all in motion? I was faced with two basic choices: run—regardless of when, or not run. I had made the best choice.

Life is about choices. We face them every day. Some are fairly benign, such as whether you want mustard and ketchup on your hotdog. Others have a greater impact: like whether you will work late to get kudos from your boss or go home and spend quality time with your family. Those choices are harder to make. They require conscious effort. It is easy to not do the best thing when it is uncomfortable, or you are tired or emotionally spent.

But as I reflect back on my run last night, it hit me that I make the choice to run every day, just like I make the choice to leave work when the day is over to spend that quality time with my spouse. When everything involved is considered, there are very few things that stand up to the scrutiny of discomfort. Many times, the discomfort that the effort brings produces sweet fruit. The exertion seems like no exertion at all.

When I determine that the effort trumps the discomfort, I have made the best choice. It is at those times that I fly. Sometimes, you have to look at the overall picture and do what might not be comfortable. But in the end, the uneasiness is usually forgotten when you make the best choice you can.

What choices are you facing today? In the scheme of life, deciding whether to go for that run seems almost irrelevant. However, when I decide to go for a run, I am reinforcing the habit of making the best choice I can—in every situation.

Thanks for sharing some of the road with me,
The 20-Minute Runner

No comments:

Post a Comment

Labels


When sending email, please include your first name, city/state or country. Your email may be shared on a podcast. Also, feel free to send me a short mp3 or wav audio file. I might play it during a podcast. Your comments are always welcome.