That’s what I tweeted about an hour ago – and I meant it.
Since my last big race 2 months ago, I’ve been taking it easy. In that race, the Virgil Crest 100-mile, I kind of blew up. I was having some trouble with my stomach early in the race. At mile 51, I started puking. I continued on to mile 55, and dropped out. Afterwards, I was just exhausted – for weeks.
I had discovered that I really do have limits. It seemed that climbing Mt. Elbrus, running a 20-mile race in the mountains near Elbrus less than a week after summiting, followed by another attempt at a 100-mile race (my second this year) a month and a half later was indeed beyond my limit – for now.
So, I rested. I’ve gone for some nice walks and a few easy runs. Oh, and I did have a couple great days of rock climbing while I was in Las Vegas for the Latin Grammys. But mostly I’ve just taken it easy.
The problem is, it gets harder and harder to get back into it the longer I’m away. It’s not just that my muscles are weaker, or the frustration of knowing the kind of shape I was in 2 months ago compared to now. It’s the habit. Where as going out for a run was the most natural thing to me before, now I have to force myself. I plead, I beg, I bribe, I kick myself. Getting out the door feels like work now.
But there are rewards. Once I start, I remember why I love running. I love feeling the way my body moves. I love feeling the air in my lungs. I love seeing trees, sky, birds…. And I love how my head clears.
Once we’ve gotten out of the habit of exercise – for whatever reason – it can be really tough to get back to it with regularity. Remind yourself of why you want to – health, the way you feel, the way you look, the way you sleep. Plead, beg, bribe, kick yourself if you need to sometimes.
There is no magic. You just have to take the first step – walk out the door, or in the door of your gym or pool. Just start.
And start again. And again.
And eventually it’s a habit once again.