“Summer running is so very difficult.”

“Summer running is so very difficult.”

My favorite early morning long run spot in Friendswood, Texas.

Summer running is so very difficult. I am off of work for the summer, so I always get excited about all of the free time I will enjoy and always have big plans for my running. I am pretty much fine with maintaining my mileage through June and the first part of July, but then something happens after the Independance Day holiday. I begin to feel oppressed by the heat and humidity. Suddenly I have trouble maintaining mileage. Suddenly I feel weak and worthless, inept and inefficient, powerless and paralyzed. I hate those feelings. I start to get REALLY discouraged.

Runkeeper summer long run logs from 2013, 2014, & 2015.

I beat myself up a bit and then, I turn to my Runkeeper log. My Runkeeper log is a lifesaver. On my log I see the mileage and the pace for runs completed at the same point of the summer the previous years. This is where I see that I struggled, but made it out the other side just by not giving up, just by going … albeit going slower and shorter than during better weather conditions. This is always the motivation I need to continue fighting and to go easier on myself. For me, that online running log is like gold. It’s so easy to feel discouraged and to fixate on the present struggle, but I can’t ignore data. That running log is real data. Followed by those rough heat-of-summer-runs are the Fall and early-winter-runs where I started to add mileage in preparation for a marathon. All of that progress those previous years is documented there, and I find solace in this.

I think the most poignant thing that I have discovered about life through running is that sometimes life is tough, unbearably tough, but sometimes, thankfully, it’s rather easy. Often it has little to do with forces conspiring against us and more to do with our attitudes and our perception of experiences. It’s easy to barely notice the easy stuff, but to fixate on the tough stuff. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I do it constantly. Running has taught me to avoid dwelling on the tough stuff and to try to enjoy the easy stuff, knowing the tough days will come, but they will pass too. Additionally, along with the tough days, easy days will come. They won’t all be easy, but likewise, they won’t all be tough.

My coveted Sweat, Smile, Repeat shirt from Runkeeper.

It’s so easy to have a hard day and to feel hopeless. This, I believe, is why running is so therapeutic for me. It teaches me, regularly, that all things in life worth having have to be earned and that I shouldn’t give up. Runners understand what it’s like to fall down, and I believe this is why we runners are so quick to pick each other up … we’ve been there. RunKeeper is my friend, truly. Runkeeper picks me up when I have fallen down. Thank you Runkeeper for picking me up again. I’m sure you’ll be there for me next summer when I’m in this state again.

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