This January is kicking my tail.
Before the calendar changed to 2017, I had a firm grasp on one of my core character traits: I stick to my promises. It’s a conscious choice that I made when I had my first baby. I know how hard it is on a kid when the adult-in-charge routinely flakes out on something he or she says is going to happen.
(And, yes, this does tell you a little bit about my childhood. No parent is perfect, including my own. My inner child has built a bridge and gotten over it. Mostly.)
Anyhoo, I’ve long been of the under-promise-and-over-deliver school. I’ve learned to not commit unless I have a pretty good sense that I can deliver. I say “no” early and often, which has got to irritate those I say it to. But if I promise, I will do it, even if I have to drag an oxygen tent along for the ride.
The past few weeks have been such a blow to my self-concept. First, I had to back out of running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in D.C. in April, which I’d committed months before. Family schedules changed around me and, well, the only way I could see to make it work involved more late-night driving and physical punishment than a sane adult should plan to do.
Fine, I thought after all of those who would care were informed. It’s a hiccup. Bound to happen every now and again. This is just a sign of maturity, not laziness. Forgive yourself. Go for a run. Yada, yada, yada.
And then I caught a cold.
Which makes all of the coughing and sneezing and aching sound so inconsequential. This particular cold knocked me directly onto my behind for a full week. I didn’t leave my house, save for two aborted attempts to go to work and for a trip to the doctor because I was convinced I had pneumonia. She, bless her heart, informed me that chicken soup is good for colds like mine, as is rest and hydration.
Reader, I almost punched her but was too weak to make a fist.
I spent a lot of the last week on the couch thinking about the NYC marathon. I had the strength to run 26.2 miles without stopping to sit for a minute or take a nice nap. Yet, now, I couldn’t pull it together enough to get off of the couch and make toast without a rest afterwards. While I’m a lousy sick person to begin with, it turns out that I’m an even lousier sick person after having run through all five boroughs.
By Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I was finally feeling less ill. Not well, mind you, just less sick. Then my daughter started sniffling. And I remembered that I hadn’t been to my actual job-job for a week, which means I was so far behind on all of my ongoing projects that they were about to lap me. And then I realized that no sane person would travel to a race 2000 miles away in a few days, which is what I was supposed to do.
There were tears. Teeth were gnashed. I decided to be an adult and do the smart-but-galling thing: I bailed on the Austin 3M Half Marathon. I wouldn’t get to spend quality time hanging with my BAMRs. There would be no breakfast tacos in my near future. That sweet, spinning medal was not to be mine.
Plus, I’m be backing out of yet another commitment, which wouldn’t be good for my pride.
Once I’d made the decision and let all of the relevant parties know (who, of course, could not have been more supportive because I know some pretty amazing people), I decided to take my hacking, sniffly self out for an easy three miles. If nothing else, I’d just walk it — but I desperately needed to lace up my trainers and spend some time in fresh air. Any running I managed would be a bonus.
As runs go, it did not cover itself in glory. But it was exactly what I needed, I think, to start to feel OK with how the first two dozen days of 2017 have gone so far. Now to build from here.
How is your 2017 going so far?