This May was my first Run Streak with the Still I Run Community. I went into this knowing I’m capable of running a mile each day for 31 days. As such, I was prepared to run in the rain, the heat, late at night, or early in the morning as the day demanded. What I wasn’t counting on though was my husband having emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder. I spent most of May 16 in the hospital, sitting beside my husband while he slept and waiting for the surgeon to come talk with us. As is typical in hospital settings, we were told “he’ll be right up” a few different times, but all of the estimates were a bit optimistic. I could easily have gone out to my car where I had a gym bag packed that morning for my usual class at the gym, found a place to change, and busted out a quick mile. But if the surgeon had come up while I was running, I would have felt selfish. I wanted to run. I had the initial flash of shame and horror that I might not have a perfect 31-day run streak. I’m not one to fall short, mess up, or fail to keep my commitments.
Self-Care and Perfectionism
Running, cycling or any other form of exercise is self-care for me – just like it is for many of you. But as someone prone to an unhealthy level of perfectionism, I have to be sure my methods of self-care don’t backfire. If my rigidity with running or training interferes with other things I value, then I’m losing sight of the larger goal. Well-being is about balance and flexibility, so on May 16 I had to show myself the flexibility and kindness of skipping a day of running and doing instead what I needed to do that day. I gave myself permission to break the run streak and just sit. I gave myself permission not to be perfect. Then on May 17 I put my shoes back on and went for a run.
Grant Yourself Some Grace
If you missed a day – or multiple days in this May Run Streak – be gentle with yourself. Don’t focus on what you didn’t do but instead focus on what you did do. If you needed a rest, if you spent time with a loved one, if you had to work, those are all activities that serve a great purpose in our lives. All are valuable, and any may need to happen in place of a run. Nothing you did earlier in the month or in the days that followed was negated by skipping a day. May has now ended, and I am proud to say I ran 30 out of 31 days. I had two streaks of 15 days each, with one day in the middle on which I chose not to run. And I’m okay with this imperfect month that was exactly what I needed.