It’s OK to Press Pause

selfless-elf-headerI’m not what you’d call a runner.

I’m, what my wife likes to call, “indoorsy.”

I’m more of a Netflix and chips guy.

So naturally, my friend and colleague challenged me to run a 5K with him. I was trying to come up with some multi-layered excuse of why this was not a good idea for me. He said it was for a good cause, blah blah blah. Being the hyper competitive person I am, I told him I’ll seriously think about it. Wasn’t going to happen.

The next day I get an email that I’ve been registered for the Selfless Elf 5K Race in a month.

Ugh. So now that he’s forced my hand – I feel an obligation to actually train for it. It is a free t-shirt after all.

Last week I worked up to about 2 miles. Two… very… slow… miles.

But alas, I thought to myself – this is good. One month to go to add on another mile. No problem.

Just this week, as I was running the first lap, I noticed a twinge of pain in my left calf. It felt like someone took a wooden rod and inserted it right into my calf muscle. I forgot to stretch. I figured it would work itself out. By the time I was into my 2nd lap, the pain had dulled.

Ahhh, sweet relief. This is the closest I’ll ever get to the completely fictional runner’s high that thin people fondly speak about.

Each lap was harder than the last, but eventually I trudged through 8 grueling laps. Finally 2 miles. I can go back home now.

The next morning I woke up to a swollen and bruised calf muscle. I couldn’t walk without a limp. I love playing basketball on Friday nights. Can’t do that now. I also think my training for the 5K will be on ice for a few weeks.

I should have listened to the pain. I should have stopped right then and stretched out the muscle. I should have warmed up with a walk first. I know all of these things, and yet I fought through the pain because I thought that’s what motivational posters tell me to do.

Mind over matter, right?

This may be true, but it can also lead to injuries that take much longer to heal. It can also lead you to miss out on the race altogether.

I’m all for persistence. This is actually my One Word for 2015 (great book by Jon Gordon). But I think it’s equally important to pay attention to where your pain points are. Is there something that is just not working for you? Is there a repeated and acute pain that you’ve simply ignored or decided to fight through?

It's okay to press pause. Pain is a great indicator that something is not right. Click To Tweet

It’s been said that Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Pause doesn’t mean you give up. Pause means to temporarily stop, re-assess, and then decide what the next best steps are.

Remember, it’s ok to press pause.

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