I don’t have to…I “get” to.

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?


3 responses

  1. You don’t realize sometimes how much you help me. I love your little blog so far and last night when I was running on the treadmill and I thought I could easily stop running and not push myself to keep going I said to myself, “I don’t have to run, I get to run” and it totally motivated me thinking about how despite a little pain here and there I am physically capable of running and I thought about how good it makes me feel doing it and after when I realize I’m choosing to be healthier. Sometimes, especially with something as mentally demanding as running, it really is about changing the perspective. We, indeed, are very lucky to have these experiences 🙂

  2. It sorta makes me think differently about all kinds of stuff I’d ordinarily think of in terms of “have to’s.” Have to go to work, or get to escape the house after several months of unemployment? Have to get groceries, or get to go Bloom with its pretty, happy, organized world? Have to clean the litter box, or get to share my house with two hilarious and awesome cats?

    This can go on forever. I’m glad you guys liked it, too!

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