Saturday evening my husband turned to me and said, “Were you satisfied with your run this morning?” (referring to the Mustache Dache 5k I had just completed).
“No,” I immediately answered, no hesitation.
And it was the honest truth, because I was upset that I hadn’t run at all the week before in preparation. I’ve been mostly walking lately, so, of course, when I started off running Saturday morning, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Right away my shins hurt, then my thighs ached. I slowed down to a walk at each hill, I forced myself to breathe evenly, praying I could even out my gasps. It was a rough run. Thankfully, it got a little easier around mile 2, but it was still tough.
But as I explained my disappointment to my husband, he reminded me to be kind to myself. It wasn’t that long ago — the last Makeshift 5k in September, in fact — that I was able to walk just 2 miles, and not complete the 3.1 that others did. After suffering from back pain, I was building myself back into running shape, slowly and safely, as I should.
That reminder — to show myself some grace — really hit home. It also reminded me that once upon a time, about five years ago, I couldn’t run even a half mile, much less 3.1. And since then, I’ve run countless 5ks, several 10ks and two half marathons.
I may not be ready for another half marathon any time soon, but all of these feats are something to be proud of, and not take for granted.
As I looked into the face of my friend Sherri Saturday morning, seeing the pride in her eyes as she wrapped her head around completing a 5k and earning the fun Mustache Dache medal, I was reminded of that feeling of accomplishment. I learned later that day that a few other girls from the Birmingham Girls Club, a local group I’m a part of, had also run their first 5k that day. I was so happy for them — I knew that feeling of accomplishment and pride, and I hope they held onto it and savored it. I hope they continue to do so.
As we work on our fitness, it’s so easy to forget our achievements sometimes. We get bogged down in the next challenge, the next competition, the next pound to lose or mile to run or weight to lift.
We need to take a step back at times and not take our successes for granted. We need to revel in the fact that we have progressed from wherever it is we started. We need to pat ourselves on the back and share that feeling with others.
No matter your fitness level, whenever you accomplish something you’re working toward, you should feel proud. And surround yourself with others who are at different levels — learn from their achievements, too, and let that remind you to show yourself grace. Show yourself how far you’ve come.