You Don’t Have To

http://www.flickr.com/photos/99527366@N00/2450193970/ David Filo's signature Adidas sneaks

Last year, I heard about a training program in my town for women who wanted to do a 4-Miler race in the fall.  I signed up, hoping it would be another chance to meet people (and I’m happy to say that did happen.)  Every Saturday, I dragged my butt out of bed and to the university track at 6:45 AM to train.  I had days where I felt great and days where I didn’t think I’d ever be able to walk 4 miles straight.  I had days when I felt like it wasn’t good enough to just walk it.  But I did it and felt in every sense of the word that I had accomplished something huge.  

It seemed natural, then, that I would sign up again this year and so I did.  And I started off strong, dragging a friend with me and walking two nights a week.  But it’s been a struggle. Honestly, I am still struggling with walking not being enough.  In my logical rational mind, I know that is silly.  I’m doing more than the person sitting on their couch  but I can’t tell you how many times people who run have made negative comments about their own dismay in “having to walk” part of the race or about someone else “having to walk” or “just walking”.  And it makes me feel bad about myself. Add to that the fact that the summer started off hot and so humid I was left breathless with any exertion.  I’ve also been dealing with a lot of pain – hips, back, achilles – and my insurance wouldn’t allow me back to my trust physical therapists until next week; dealing with chronic pain for over 14 years usually has me push through but lately I’ve not felt it wise to do so. More Saturday mornings than not, I’ve just wanted to stay in bed and catch up on the sleep I’ve missed due to work, stress, and various other things. 

This year, I just really don’t want to do it.  I don’t want to get up at 6:45 AM every Saturday.  I don’t want my body to hurt.  And I don’t want to come away feeling like I’m not enough because I walk instead of run.  But I feel terribly guilty saying that and even more guilty bailing on it altogether.  

But why in the world do I feel guilty about not doing something that basically only impacts me?  Sure, my friends may be disappointed if I don’t follow through but it’s not a deal breaker for our relationships.  They know I’ve been struggling and have had struggles of their own.  No, it all goes back to me and this standard I’ve set for myself (and sometimes for others) of following through on commitments, no matter how tired or busy I am, no matter how much I simply don’t “feel like it”.  Not feeling like it never seems like a good enough reason to bail on anything, in my perspective.  But why isn’t it?  

I did it last year.  I fought through and showed myself and my world I could do it.  There is no shame in bowing out gracefully this year, despite the commitment.  The money goes to a good cause, after all, whether I train or not, whether I do the race or not.  And what’s the worst thing that happens if I don’t do it?  Absolutely nothing.  Will the world end?  Certainly not.  Will wars break out?  No.  Will people shun me or tease me?  Not likely.  But yet I still feel disappointed in myself, despite the fact that everything in me is screaming, “I don’t wanna!” and the grown up, rational part of me is whispering, “And you don’t have to.”

2 thoughts on “You Don’t Have To

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