December 8, 2010
I just cannot stop. Every logical part of my brain in telling me to stop, but somehow I just cannot.
It is raining and cold. At first, it is not so bad, a little brisk, but a comfortable temperature after the blood starts flowing. Then, the rain starts. Little drops at first, but slowly building up to a steady downfall. They are the big and plump rain drops that send a cold chill down my spine as they drip down my neck. Most people would take this as a cue to cut their run short and take a soothing, hot shower. Most people are not me.
Does it make me a weaker person to stop? I have never quit anything, which is something to say about my personality. I do not want to disappoint myself. I cannot let myself down for dread of the consequences. Would quitting make me less than perfect, less than the self-perceived person I seem to compare myself to on a daily basis?
Keep going. Keep pushing. I did it yesterday and the day before. To stop now would be a weakness. It would become a superficial fault apparent only to me, a failure. If I succeed once, I have to keep doing it. I have to keep proving that I am capable of the standards I set for myself.
Everything I do needs a purpose and a meaning. Unfathomable goals destined to make me a better person. Even I cannot see the outlandish nature of my personality because I are so busy driving myself on this road of excellence. Unaware of my surroundings and the way I treat myself. Running towards a burned out state of anxiety and stress.
If I did eight intervals yesterday, I have to do nine the next. I need to be superior to who I was before. Faster. Harder. Better. Stronger. It just keeps going, and going until… Until what? When will it stop? When will I be able to say, “enough is enough” and take a break?
The same attitude I have towards running seems to transcend itself into the rest of my life. Academically, I push myself to study hard and produce excellent work. I get tasks done far prior to their due dates and I always go the extra mile (figuratively and literally).
The rain is coming down harder now in icy pellets that numb my skin and make my teeth clatter. My clothes and drenched and cling to my body like a second skin. my sneakers are soaked and feel like clay bricks on my feet as they slosh through puddles. I lost the feeling in my toes about a mile ago.
I want to push myself to run just fifteen more minutes. Just a little further and I will be done. Yet the question remains, is it worth it? What will I get out of these next few minutes that are significant enough to risk my health, and furthermore, my sanity? Are even the next ten minutes worth it? I want to say no, I need to say no. I need to let go.
The harder I push, the worse off I seem to be. This is not running anymore as much as trudging. Like sprinting up a steep hill with the wind in my face, I am working against myself and who I really want to become. There is such a thing as working too hard. Less is sometimes more, especially in this case. The most difficult part of this is making my head agree with my legs. There are these two contrasting ideas going on in my head, fighting to dominate my conscience. "Listen to me! Lighten up and take a rest."
There is a difference between not running up a hill because you are indolent and not running up a hill because of a thunderstorm. The former might indicate weakness while the latter just signifies sane judgment. Stopping does not make me impuissant. On the contrary I feel stronger because I was able to say no. Peer pressure is the worst, especially when it is coming from within. I am better than this. I smarter and more responsible than I let myself appear to be.
Just slow down. Take a deep breath, and go home. I do not have to do it all today. Success is not measured in a single instance, a sole practice, or one final race but over a lifetime or triumphs and tribulations. Sometimes the most productive thing to do is to do nothing. It cleanses the body and mind for the next task ahead. I am chasing down an improbable reality, and it is a competition I am going to lose. It is not always about winning the pursuit, but simply finishing.

I do not have to be perfect; I just have to be me. I am going to stop now. Tomorrow is another day, and it is supposed to be sunny. My future is bright because I not only have the tools to succeed, but I know how and when to use them. Maybe tomorrow I will run a marathon, but today I am just going to kick back and settle down.

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