Never in a million years did I think I would treat myself to a morning run. A massage or a meal, yes, but intentional exercise has never been my idea of a good time. After about two weeks of pushing my body to the limit, I dared to step on a scale. I expected to see a big difference but to my surprise, I saw no change. Boy was I crushed. The scale read the same and I wrestled with the question of did any of it count? Did my efforts to run faster and farther count? Did surrendering that last hour of sleep count? What about the fast food I replaced with fresh fruit, did that count? It didn’t seem like it when I looked at the number on the scale. I debated over whether I should limit my workouts to weekends because the jogging trail was not my only cross to bear. I had reasons to quit, but then I thought about why I started running in the first place.
I reflected on a conversation I had with my co-workers, Kesh and Kim. Kesh was diligent about hitting the gym every morning. I really wanted to know what was fueling her dedication. When I asked her how she did it (getting up so early), she expressed that she was somewhat addicted to it. In fact, she was operating on 3 hours of sleep during our exchange, and attributed her ability to manage her young students to her morning workout. Kim suggested running, and recommended a training app to jumpstart my jogging routine. She runs for miles on end (sometimes with her stroller) and has weaned herself off coffee. That’s all I needed to hear! I desperately needed something better than caffeine to get me through the day. I longed for their energy, so I gave it a try. I found myself running outside at 5 o’clock the next morning. Somewhere around 10 am, I made an awesome discovery. I noticed that I had not taken any headache medicine, and I was still smiling!
After thinking about my original intent for running, I gathered that I was already winning. I used to swear by the snooze button, and insisted on a nap before driving home. Now I can be awake and alert from 5 am to 9 pm without falling apart. The benefit of sustained energy couldn’t have come at a better time. Without going into any detail, we ran into a situation at work that required our undivided attention. Sometimes the ordeal consumed our entire day, in which case I would crash when I got home. That’s a blessing! I normally lose sleep when I’m overwhelmed. These morning runs have helped take the edge off my anxiety, and the amazing women I work with provide the support and laughter I need throughout the day. Keeping in line with the awesomeness, my mood is much better too! According to the Trinity (my 3 children) I’m a lot more relaxed. Hour-long lectures about “messy rooms come from messy minds” have been reduced to simple reminders for the kids to clean up. Better mood and more fortitude: these are my goals as a working mother over thirty.
Before you discredit the legitimacy of your heartfelt work, consider your purpose and your scale. You might be using the wrong units to measure your progress. Pounds lost provide insignificant data in my case because I’m running for…my life! I simply want to improve the quality of my life. So I decided to measure my progress in terms of time. On that scale, I’m doing just fine because the investment I make each morning enhances the quality of my time thereafter. With that understanding, I reckon that my efforts to run faster and farther did count. So did giving up that last hour of sleep and replacing some of the fast food with fresh fruit. You know what, the 3 things I accomplished at work among the 97 remaining tasks counted too. Why? Because it always counts when what you do blesses the people you are called to serve.
Fast forward to today: I have lost a few pounds, and I’ve scratched a few more items off my to-do list. Yes, if you focus on the quality, the quantity will come!
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