Some mornings, I get out of bed and feel like I can tackle anything. I can conquer the world.
Other mornings, I feel heavy and slow. I feel like just getting the kids out to the school bus is like climbing Mt. Everest.
Evenings can be worse. I beat myself up over little things that probably go unnoticed by everyone else. But not me. I think of how I could have made different, maybe better, choices, during the day. I feel like I failed.
But, over the years, I have learned that I am my own worst critic. I have learned that the pendulum will always swing again, in the other direction. I will have highs and lows, and that’s called being human. And, it’s ok.
I have learned to be patient; to wait. Wait for the darker times to pass, and be ready for the sun to shine again and bring me that lightness in my heart again.
I have also learned that getting outside and getting lost in the trees helps. More than that second cup of coffee that I really don’t need. Going into the woods with my head full of junk, and coming out with junk on my shoes instead.
Or getting into the pool and feeling weightless, letting my tension and stress float away somewhere else where it can take root. Leaving me free again.
It’s not predictable, this pendulum. But, I am better prepared now. I don’t understand why it swings, but I know that I can wait it out and it will get better.
It’s like being in an endurance race. You start out, feeling great and ready to give it your all. But, then there are dark times. Times when exhaustion sets in, or your gut rebels against you, and you feel defeated. But, as we all know, if you just keep moving, keep pushing relentlessly forward, you swing back the other way. Life gets better again. You get in a groove again, and suddenly, you are back on track. Everyone that has crewed someone in an endurance event knows how important that head space is. And, when things turn south, you have to say and do the right things to help your runner get through. JUST LIKE LIFE.
If you’re nodding your head out there, just know that you’re not alone. You don’t have to be a super hero everyday, it’s ok to play possum every now and then.
And when all else fails, go into the woods for a spell.
“Into the woods I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
Run happy. Run long.
Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.