It always comes to me, especially when I'm in the midst of them, that it's the hardest runs that mean the most. When I'm a little cranky, can't seem to get going, or just plain frustrated, it'd be only too easy to give up. No one's watching. No one would be any wiser.
Last night, with "Dilly" by Band of Horses blaring in my ears, I could feel my shoulders slumping as I spotted another hill in my immediate future. I couldn't seem to get a rhythm going, and although the night was comfortably cool, the humidity seemed to be seeping into my bones. It had been three and a half hours since I had last eaten. It was 7:40 PM, and all I wanted was a shower, the tomato frittata I'd promised myself for dinner, and water. And a couch. And I wouldn't even be that particular about the order.
And then I squared my shoulders and remembered being 30 pounds heavier, depressed, and miserable, and I put on some Stars, and I kept on until my five miles were done. 3 1/2 weeks until the marathon, and occasionally I still panic, thinking that there's no way I can finish. Just as I sometimes look for the rest of me that isn't there anymore, sometimes I can't reconcile the months of training I've done with the way I felt about myself in the past.
And that's when it's the most important for me to put my head up, crank up the headphones, and push myself. Sometimes I pretend that I'm running over my old self, which sounds so odd as I type it, but works so well when I'm out on the road. I run so I never have to be her again. And I run because I love it. And every time I push myself past the point of my own stubbornness and into a personal victory, I'm turning into someone new.