One Fight At A Time

Earlier this week I went for what I would, and did, consider to be the most miserable run of my life. My phone said it felt like -30 outside, it was dark, the winds were intense and I really, really didn’t want to be running.

Now, we all want to quit or cut corners or cut short sometimes but normally these are very fleeting feelings for me. This time though? This time they stuck and they weren’t just surface level feelings - they were deep. At 700 meters into the run I thought about just calling it off and walking home. At 2km it took everything I had not to “agree” to stop at the 2.5km mark and turn it into a 5k.

As my mind bounced around between my waning motivation, numb hands, broken toe and the hundreds of excuses screaming through my head I managed to calm myself down enough to ask, “What the f%$k is going on!?”

“Sure, it sucks out.”

“Sure, I’m cold.”

“Sure, I’d rather be at home doing literally ANYTHING else.”

“But, why am I handling this so badly??”

Once I got to this point it almost felt like some part of me that had been pushed to the back - that I couldn’t hear over the excuses and complaints - said, “finally.”

It was in this moment I realized I was thinking about the 8 mile “refrigerator” run I have coming up February 10th. Under the surface level nonsense part of me was panicking: I’m barely holding it together now, fully clothed - how am I going to run 8 miles in just a pair of short-shorts? What if I can’t do it? People have donated thousands of dollars to charity for this - what if I let them down? What if it keeps getting colder, how am I going to deal with that?

Now, obviously these are some things I still had to work through but in the moment I realized I was having such a hard time because I wasn’t just doing the run I had set out for that night - I was running the absolute, worst case scenario, half-naked February run at the same time.

This realization calmed me down a lot and while it didn’t fix all of my issues it definitely made the run bearable and I finished the 10k I had planned in a solid time and with some serious speed (for me) for the last 2km.

During the second half, post panic, portion of the run I started thinking about all the times I’ve done this to myself without thinking about it.

Following a diet and faced with a craving? It’s not hard to turn down the donut in front of you in that single moment but start thinking about the fact that you’re never, EVER going to get to eat another delicious donut again? Now you’re not just fighting a single craving - you’re fighting every donut desire you can imagine ever having.

Getting up early to hit the gym or do some cardio? Sure you’re tired but you can roll yourself out of bed and get moving. Give yourself a minute to consider that you’re only going to be more tired tomorrow when you have to do it again and after a week of doing this you’ll probably be completely exhausted and STILL have to get up and continue this new routine you had in mind. Now you’re not just getting out of bed, you’re dealing with a thousand mornings of waking up, exhausted, and trying to pull yourself out of your nice, warm bed.

The lesson here for me - and maybe you as well - is to make sure that you’re only fighting one battle at a time. Sure, there are going to be more hard times ahead but not today, not right now. Right now your job is to get through the challenge that’s in front of you. Having more mountains to climb doesn’t mean that you’ll only be climbing. You’ll have your moments at the top, you’ll have your easy descents down the opposite side. If you stack every mountain you’ll ever climb on top of each other it’s going to look impossible - because it would be - but life isn’t like that, our fears, discomforts, insecurities and weakness can make it seem that way but when you’re in that moment stop yourself, take a second and make sure you’re just fighting the battle you’re in.


PS. If you’re curious about the February charity run you can find out more HERE. Any shares or donations are extremely appreciated - as you can see I could use the extra motivation sometimes ;)

Craig Bongelli