Finding Your Own Pace

Running Diary, Week Six: Accountability

I was speaking to my sister last week after I posted my running diary and gave her a brief run down of what I had written and concluded with, “so basically it’s another apology-excuse post,” to which Annette replied, “yeah I figured”. It was brutal but well deserved. Anyway that conversation was enough to get me off the sofa and go for a run. I’m happy to report that I’ve been running a bit more consistently ever since and I have even motivated myself to go out without D (and in the morning too!).

It might not be pretty (the process or this photo) but sometimes you need to be on your own, independent of all others, in order to make the progress you need.
It might not be pretty (the process or this photo) but sometimes you need to be on your own, independent of all others, in order to make the progress you need.

When I was a kid I used to run and do some track and field but that was ions ago. In the last few years I haven’t had much confidence in my own ability and every step seems tenuous, which is why I’ve come to rely on D so heavily. Largely, I enjoy running with him because I love his company and he encourages me but I’ve come to realize that by tying myself to his routine, his habits, and his schedule I’ve passed over my personal accountability and forfeited my agency. That statement seems rather drastic but it’s absolutely true. “Oh, you’re too busy to run? Let’s wait until tomorrow and we can go together”. I’ve eschewed personal responsibility under the pretense of teamwork and the more frequently I do that, the less accountable I make myself – at least that’s the situation in my case. But this week has been a game changer and for that, I’m thrilled.

Honestly, I don’t know when this shift occurred but the more I run, the more I want to run. I like waking up early when the streets are still quiet and listening to my own heartbeat and gross panting (my breathing technique is in need of improvement). I like focusing on my breathing and seeing how much more I can push myself. I like the high I get post-run and the way my body feels as a result of the exercise. Mostly, I love being responsible to myself. I am in charge of fulfilling my goals and cannot pass this task to anyone else. It’s hard at times to find the drive but it’s also freeing to know that I am personally accountable for the outcome. Slowly I’m beginning to rebuild my confidence and feeling much better about the entire process.

Anyway, that’s part one of the diary, part two is something else entirely.

Running Diary, Week Six, Pt. 2: Caring for yourself

Sometimes when I see people all geared up with their fanny packs, water bottles, hat, glasses, and assorted equipment on their runs around the neighbourhood I get a bit judgmental. Admittedly, I’ve made a concerted effort to quiet that snarky part of my brain because at the end of the day, it’s none of my business but more importantly, my attitude has begun to change regarding all this gear.

Obviously there's not much physical activity going on in this photo but it does demonstrate some of what I'm saying with respect to sun protection: long, light layers and limit sun exposure.
Obviously there’s not much physical activity going on in this photo but it does demonstrate some of what I’m saying with respect to sun protection: long, light layers and limit sun exposure.

Up until very recently, with the exception of runs at the cottage, I went out nearly exclusively at night. My priorities were less about hydration and keeping cool, and more about visibility and staying safe. That’s changed a bit as I’ve started incorporating morning runs into my routine and because it’s summer, the sun is beginning to creep up during the later parts of my run and I need to prepare for that properly. Since my runs aren’t particularly lengthy, my goals aren’t focused specifically on hydrating but rather sun protection which is important, especially when I eventually embark on longer routes during the day.

Without being over dramatic or throwing everyone into a panic, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada. There are obvious steps we can take to prevent skin cancer, or at least minimize the risk, such as avoiding tanning beds and prolonged exposure to the sun. Additionally, we should be vigilant in caring for our skin through other measures such as wearing hats, glasses, and long sleeved clothing with sun screen being your last line of defence (it’s important to wear sunscreen but don’t rely on this alone!). There are many great resources to learn about caring for yourself and protecting your skin from the sun but my favourite source is New Family Rule, which is the combined effort of two groups, David Cornfield Melanoma Fund and Douglas Wright Foundation.

As a result, I’m now beginning to consider what I wear more heavily, not only to look and feel good, but also as a means of protecting myself. Anyway, this may just be a very long explanation to justify a shopping trip but in the end, I think my health is certainly worth the price.

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