I spent a generous portion of my Sunday giving the fish pond its spring cleaning. I’m not sure why the fish pond requires a 100% draining and scrubbing several times a year to stay even remotely clear. I’ve read the web articles—that thing is supposed to be a happy little ecosystem…ahem, a happy little ecosystem in which I can actually SEE the fish swimming! It has a filter and pump. It has chemicals. I’m within my appropriate fish-having limits. But three or four times a year, I find myself carting buckets of fish water to all of our bushes (on the positive side, it makes excellent fertilizer) and scrubbing down the sides of the little pond to get rid of all the algae growth. I don’t know what my/my pond’s problem is, but in the grand scheme of things it can’t be too terrible. I haven’t killed a fish yet! Pretty good for someone who inherited an existing fish pond from a previous homeowner.
The pond-cleaning, however, is not conducive to running. My Sunday run was successful primarily because I didn’t give my muscles time to complain; however, I woke up Monday and hurt pretty much everywhere important. Lower back, quads, hamstrings, calves…not happy. By the time I got home from work, all I wanted to do was eat dinner and kick back on the couch. And maybe add a few woe is me’s for good measure. I was feeling pretty pathetic.
It’s always helpful when days like that are as gorgeous as yesterday was. So sunny, yet still on the cool side, it BEGGED me to go outside and run. I was also reminded of the advice of my first track coach on the power of positive thinking. Every time he heard someone say “Do I have to?” or “We have to run 3 miles today,” (and surrounded by whiny middle school girls, he heard such phrases often) he would say, “You don’t have to, you get to.” Those words carry more meaning to me now that I’m years away from any coach who might “make” me run. When you’re on a team with no thought of quitting, it’s easy to blame the day-to-day work and discomfort on the person in charge. Now, there’s not a single day that I have to go out and run. Nope. Every single mile I put in from here on out is a choice. It is also a gift. When I think of all the people I know who can’t run, whether from simple disinclination, weak joints, more important responsibilities, or life-altering injuries, I feel blessed that I still have the opportunity to use this gift. So, will I grumble about going outside to work off sore muscles on a 60 degree, sunny day? Or will I finally manage to remember that running is something I get to do?