Indefatigable

Indefatigable. adjective. According to the ever-helpful Dictionary.com, “Incapable of being tired out; not yielding to fatigue; untiring.”

Warning: This is the post where I brag about my indefatigability (if that’s actually a word) and how awesome I am at running.

Ha. Not exactly.

This weekend, my younger (faster) brother wanted to run a 5k for Celebrate Kennedy, the summertime shindig that happens in the town (or village, or whatever you call a cluster of about 100 people who live near each other) closest to us. He went because he goes running every night and is actually kind of good at it. I went because I like to pretend I’m a runner and he needed a ride.

I ran the whole thing. All 3.1 miles.

And I actually survived.

(My survival was made more miraculous by the fact that about half a mile in, it began storming. As in lightning and thunder with stinking heavy rain storming. There were puddles on the streets in town after five minutes and I didn’t notice water slopping onto my t-shirt from my open water bottle. At least you couldn’t tell whether I was dripping from sweat or rain.)

Little brother and me, happy to have survived

Little brother and me at the finish. Note Andrew’s once light gray t-shirt, which is now drenched.

And in spite of all of the gasping and sweating and uncooperative weather, I actually enjoyed myself.

Kind of.

When it was all over, actually.

In the middle, there was a lot of heavy breathing. I made a lot of deals with myself about how I could maybe make it half way, then make it back to town, then make it to the bank, then make it to the finish line. I talked about squishy, heavy shoes with the kid I ran next to for a while (in between gasps, of course). I listened to a lot more screaming music than I do when I am not under the influence of endorphins. And I decided that this is something I might want to do on a regular basis.

I know, that’s rather insane. Running makes me realize how un-indefatigable I am. (Sometimes I forget. But then I take out my iPod headphones and hear myself gasping, and I remember real quick.) It makes me sweaty and red-faced and rather unattractive. It makes me sore sometimes.

But there’s also something intriguing about running. For one thing, there are all of those awesome health benefits, like a smaller butt (and lower cholesterol and other technical things that almost twenty-year-olds could really care less about). There’s also the whole mental battle, one that I feel like I can actually win (and I rarely win mental battles with myself – see the Perfectionism post for first-hand evidence.) My exhaustion battles my determination. My desire to breathe dukes it out with my desire to finish strong. And on the right day, the will to keep going might actually win. I’m realizing that being indefatigable is not the point – but deciding what to do when I realize I’m not indefatigable is. I can stop and give up, or I can hack a little, slow my pace to a crawl, and choose to keep moving.

If you haven’t figured it out, this applies to more than running. How often do I think school or work or relationships or responsibilities or life in general are going to get the best of me? But just because I’m weary and feel like giving up doesn’t mean that I can’t do it. If I can run 3.1 miles and not keel over, I think there’s probably a lot that I can accomplish, even if I think I’m going to die when the going gets tough.

Like running four miles.

Maybe.

Although if you find me lying on the side of a gravel road with my dingy yellow lab running partner licking my face trying to revive me, you know what I’ve attempted.

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