You Run Because You Can

One of my best friends (Ann) and Justin had a stress intervention with me on Thursday.

“What, you think I’m stressed!?” I asked.

“THINK?” Ann said. “Um, yes- you’re absolutely stressed out.You are stressed right now. Just sitting here.”

I looked at Justin, hoping he would have a different answer.

He didn’t. He agreed with Ann. 

“I don’t feel stressed all the time…” I said. “I mean, I feel busy a lot.”

“You worry a lot, Ash” Justin said. “Maybe it’s not stress as much as worry and anxiety.”

“You’re always on the go,” Ann said. “You just need to slow down.”

Slow down.

That’s an interesting concept. Justin and I literally do not have a free weekend until November 19th. And soon after that will be Thanksgiving followed by Christmas.

I sighed. 

“Okay, you’re right,” I admitted. “I’m stressed. I’m spread thin. I’m exhausted. I’m sick of coming home at nine pm most nights. I’m tired of never having a weekend to just relax. I’ll work on being less stressed.”

But what does “less stressed” really mean?

For starters, it means saying “NO.”

I can’t be everything, to everyone, all of the time.

It also means learning to live in the moment. 

And stop worrying.

“We need to go on a hippy camping trip,” Ann said. “Just us and nature.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever wished for a trip like that,” I said while starring out the window into the woods. “But maybe you’re right. Maybe I need to enjoy nature more often…”

The changing leaves were beautiful…and until that moment, I didn’t even take the time to notice the beautiful, new colors.

***

Usually when I go for run, my mind is racing. I’m planning my daily “to-do” list or making mental notes of projects to do or people to call.

I’ve got TONS of things to do today. Projects, blogs, work emails to catch up on from being out on PTO, laundry, DJ playlists, DJ timelines, etc.

But today, I put the to-do lists away.

I laced up my shoes and looked down at Bandit, who was eager to get moving.

Stretching before our long run.

I closed my eyes.

“All you need to do is run, Ash,” I whispered to myself. “Don’t worry about anything else except for putting one foot in front of the other. Just run.”

And with that, I took off for our (stress free) 8 mile run.

***

When I was half a mile from home, I began talking to myself. I didn’t give a darn who heard me.

And let’s be real, I am not a quiet person- so you KNOW people heard me.

“You’re doing great!”

“Don’t stop!”

“You’re almost there!”

My body was hurting.

I wanted to stop.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I turned into my own personal cheerleader. 

“You run because you can!!”

“You run because you can” has become my running motto lately. I think of all the people who can’t run due to physical or mental challenges, and I remind myself that I shouldn’t stop. Because some people can’t even begin…

When we got closer, I wanted to cry. I was so proud of myself. I started out doing timed intervals, but eventually I just said “screw it” and ran until I needed just a quick break.

We stopped twice to stretch and went into two different places in search of water (without luck). The burrito shop was closed and Domino’s didn’t have cups. What restaurant doesn’t have cups?! I was so desperate I almost asked for a soup bowl…one for me and one for Bandit.

We ran up to the driveway, and I went straight for the fridge to chug a bottle of water.

Bandit ran past me to his water bowl.

“How far did you go?” Justin asked.

“To the shoe store and back,” I said barely breathing. “So, 8 miles.”

“I don’t think that’s 8 miles,” he said.

“WHAT!?” I said.

I looked down at my watch (my phone was dead… so for once in my life, I didn’t have my phone attached to my hip).

He was right.

There is no way I ran 8 miles in 80 minutes.

A big smile BEFORE I realized I only went 6 miles instead of 8.

“Dangggg it!” I said.

I did not want to run again.

At all.

The sun was hot and my feet were hurting.

And I think my right butt cheek had lost feeling (I know, so random- just the right one…)

“Well, looks like I’m going out for another two miles.”

And so, Bandit and I ran again.

Because we can.

By the time I was finished, I felt so accomplished.

I didn’t go super fast, but I’m around the pace I need to finish my half marathon around 2:45 (goal finish time). 

Finally, a good long run.

And best of all, I didn’t let the stresses and worries of the day slow down my run!

Okay, I lied…the best part was coming home from my long run and shoveling food in my mouth!

I have no words for how amazing this tasted post-8 miles.

I may or may not have eaten some cheesy potatoes too….(worth it)!

Much love,
Ashley

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