"The true measure of a runner isn't in time, but rather in the effort it took along the way."
Coach Jenny Hadfield, Ask Coach Jenny blog, Runner's World.com
The other night I was at our son's high school track meet, and it was bitter cold with a strong, biting wind.
I mentioned to the group of parents I was sitting with that I was thinking about skipping my daily run given the lateness of the hour and the raw nature of the day. Most of the group members nodded their heads that I was making the right decision.
Then there was the lone voice of dissonance. One person quipped, "but you've got to do your run."
Damn if that didn't ignite my inner voice -- that little character that stands on you should like in the cartoons and tells you that you know what you have to do. That little voice that reminds you that you skipped the day before because you were too busy to make it out onto the streets.
I was offering up every rationalization in the book to keep the guilt at bay. I'd done a ton of yard work. Yeah, what else you got? Naddah. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
But it was cold and after 7 p.m. when I finally got home from sitting on the cold metal bleachers at the track meet. I paid my dues, I told myself. I had been up moving around and out in the weather for five or six hours.
I also have a rule, if your hearts not in it, give yourself a break and take the day off. So I did.
You know what? The world didn't end. The sun came up the next morning. And I ran really well in a light misty rain the next day. It wasn't a perfect run, but it wasn't the suffer-fest that I would have endured the night before.
So, my fellow runners, I grant you permission to give yourself an unexpected day off, just don't make it too many in a row. And if you see the world's slowest human out on the streets, give me a wave.