A lot time ago when I used to be in shape, I was out in the car one summer Sunday afternoon and saw this big fat guy running by the side of the road.
He was going about the speed of a slug and it looked like someone had hosed him down. He was running with his head tipped back and his mouth open and looked like he’d rather have bamboo slivers stuck under his toenails while having a root canal and listening Bob Dylan sing hip hop.
At the time, I opined that he was more courageous in his workout than I was because I knew what I could do. This was a familiar thing for me. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t super duper hard, either.
But he was out taking chances. And his two or three miles was more impressive than my eight or ten.
This morning, I was the fat guy. Ever since I was sick, I’ve been trying to get back toward in shape. I started by running–far too much–and messing up my Achilles tendons. It took forever for that to go away and finally, last summer, I started to ease into things. I dabbled with it, but the habit never really stuck.
Then I got with these guys who pushed me harder than even Insanity did. I managed to get back up to five miles running. That’s when the injuries kicked in. Two calf injuries. A hip injury. Then I got sick. Then I was working a zillion hours.
Then I got back from a business trip and started running again. I got two runs in and got sick again. And then I messed up my back. And now my shoulder.
But yesterday, I walked. Things were okay, so today I ran.
For whatever reason, Runkeeper decided not to get GPS this morning, so I tracked by time. Twenty-two minutes of running, at which point the tank was empty. So I alternated running a minute and walking a minute for another twenty minutes and finished just on the edge of slight nausea.
I didn’t go super fast–even compared to my previous glacier-like pace. And I didn’t go very far–probably around three miles overall.
And if I’d jumped in the pool, there was enough sweat that the water level would probably go up half an inch when I submerged myself. (It’s not that gross; it’s a saltwater pool.)
But I was that fat guy. And it was magnificent.
A lot of the time, people who are two hard on themselves are much fairer with other people. So if that’s you, treat yourself like them.
The day I turned a certain advanced age, I ran 17 miles. I’d struggle to do 17 miles in a week now. And that’s okay, because that’s where I am.
In the words of the great Tony Horton, “He did his best and that’s always enough.”
God never expects us to do the impossible and He’s, you know, God. Who are we to hold ourselves to a higher standard.