Mile a Day challenge – Day 9

Miles Ran Today – 3
Total Miles – 16.8

I’ve decided to drop the “consecutive days ran” thing. It was confusing to see “challenge – day 8” and then put that I’ve ran for 9 days consecutively. Instead, I’ll just mentally add one to each day and be pleased with myself that way.

Anyhow, it’s amazing how quickly my brain tries to get me to give up on things. Well, damn near everything. I like to think it’s part of my primitive brain thinking “I’ve got shelter, warmth, snacks, and entertainment right here, why would I ever go outside and exert myself?!” Then, as I step outside the door and start those first couple of steps, I get a cacophony of antagonistic thoughts.

“Why are you running? QUIT”
“You don’t even like running!”
“This is bad for you!”
“You’re going to suck this run and it won’t even be worth it. Turn back!”
“UGH this is so hard why even bother.”
“Okay now is a good time to turn around. you’ve done good. Quit now and lets get some taco bell!”

Every day we’re faced with a battle against ourselves. Every day we get to accomplish as much or as little as we’d like. I just wonder why the daily battle is constantly an uphill one. Is it simply an issue of habit? They say that it takes around 30 days for a habit to kick in, so I’m wondering if soon enough my brain will be encouraging me to lace up the running shoes instead of the opposite.

Yesterday was some pretty crap weather. Pouring rain and blustery, and I was still feeling slightly off from the sickness the day before. Once again, I was confident in my ability to rationalize not running for the day. Even stopped by the store on the way home to pick up some snacks and beer to completely give in to the temptation. Once I got home, however, I immediately moved to throw on my running gear, knowing that if I sat down, any chance I had at extending the streak was over.

I’ve got to say that I rather enjoy running in inclement weather. Once you get over the fact that you’re wet, there’s really nothing it can do against you. Running keeps you warm. Besides, if you can get yourself out the door on even the worst of days, the sunny and nice ones are more like a treat, rather than a requirement, when it comes to exercise.

I’m further encouraged in this endeavor by the book I’m currently reading. I’ve always known and been intrigued by the benefits of exercise, as much as my actions tend to say otherwise. The book is called Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.  It deals with just how vital exercise is to fully functioning brains, including how exercise increases neuroplasticity and even grows new cells, neurons, and connections. It showcases the efforts of a school in Illinois that revamped their PE class and made it a vital part of getting the most out of their students, including improved test scores and better social skills.

Every single page is littered with information and examples of just how important exercise is. For everyone. Reading it at night helps encourage me to begin each new morning with that in mind, so that I can lean on the information next time I “don’t feel like” doing something.

Seriously, as someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, exercise is the number one tool I have to combat these issues. Meds and therapy help, for sure, but even without those things, I notice the difference exercise instills in calming my mind down. Why I forget this and go months without being active? Well, I think we’ve all been there and asked that same question. But that was then. Today is now. And time to make the best of it.

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