For those who follow me on Twitter, Nike+, Strava and Garmin Connect, DailyMile and MapMyFitness, you’ll have seen that I was on streaking. No, not that kind of streaking. I was running at least 5K every day since just before New Years. I missed one day because I was sick, but quickly made it up, so I was giving myself a pass on that miss. However, I have now not run since this past Saturday – that’s three days and counting. Why? Well, when training for my first half marathon, I found that I have a split sesamoid bone in my left foot that is usually transparent to me, but gets symptomatic sometimes. And guess what – it’s symptomatic right now. I felt the pain building each day, but didn’t think that’s what it was (honestly, I actually just forgot about it, so it never occurred to me that this is what was going on). I had a choice – keep running and make things really bad, or take several days off, let everything cool down, and then start back carefully. I chose the second one.
Breaking my streak was upsetting, but I realized that I could either do it voluntarily and for a shorter amount of time, or I could be forced to do it and for a long time. And the thing is, I can always start back up and just streak from a later date. And that’s ok.
Why is it ok? It’s simple. The streak is something I’m doing for myself. To prove something to me. To do something for me. To stay strong and feel successful in my commitment to my own wellness. I’m not beholden to anyone else.
But there’s also the idea of quitting, and that giving an inch can lead to taking a mile. That’s I think where I get most unsettled. But that’s the old me. The old me would eat an Oreo, and then just eat another. But “just eat another” was a repeating phrase that would lead to an entire row in the package being devoured (if not the whole package). Taking a day off, sleeping in, etc – they can all lead to ‘just another’. But I’m not that person anymore. That fear is unfounded.
But that fear can only be unfounded when we genuinely make it that way. I am staying committed to my fitness and my wellness. Right now, that doesn’t mean doing cardio as I normally do. Right now, that means making an active decision to let my foot get better, and seeing that in the light of being for my wellness. Just because you aren’t sweating, doesn’t mean you aren’t doing right by your body (that’s what eating right is all about, after all).
And I have woken up each morning and evaluated my situation to see if I can back get at it. So far, the smart decision is not to. And that will likely stay the smart decision a few days past when I feel like I could run. Otherwise, my next streak might just be a day long.
So this post is half for my own strength and resolve, and half to share the mental position injury or set backs can put you in no matter how strong or dedicated you are. And through sharing that, I hope people who have struggles see that no one is immune to them, and they don’t have to spell defeat or failure. Frame frame your decisions around them the right way, see how those decisions fuel your overall objectives, and get right back to winning.
Each successive win drives the next. Just broaden how you define winning to see that you are still doing great. That’s how, despite ‘set backs’, you keep at it and enlighten.your.body.