Sometimes in order to keep up, you have to slow down… - Black Women's Health

June 28, 2010


Happy Monday BGR Nation! I thought today was a great day for a motivational blog post. Today’s guest blogger is DeChelle Harris. For most of my life, running has been my go-to exercise of choice.  I first started running at age 9 with my dad.  We would go to a local park and while my dad would run the trails, I would try to keep up.  But of course, I could not.  One day I was able to catch him doing pull-ups at one of the cross-training stations positioned around the park.  I complained that I couldn’t run as fast as he could and that I had to stop often to catch my breath.  My dad stopped doing his pull-ups and looked down at me and said, “Baby, you’re not supposed to run as fast as me but here’s some advice, whenever you feel like you need to stop, don’t stop, just slow down.”  Since that day, over 20 years ago, I still use that little piece of advice to reach my running as well as my life goals. Along with that advice I’ve gathered a few other pieces of wisdom to help me reach these goals.  But mainly,  I consider running a metaphor for life.  Running, like life can be filled with challenges.  There are days when I really dread it.  There are days when attempting to run the same trail I ran effortlessly the day before is fraught with aches, pains, and difficulty breathing.  There are trails that are all uphill.  There are paths that are not paved smoothly and cause me to stumble.  There are tracks that are smooth but lead me around in circles.  These challenges, like those we experience in life, often take me by surprise and require me to regroup and develop new strategies to overcome them. On the days I dread running, I think about the mornings when getting out of bed is difficult and I remember that once I’m up and out the door, the trouble I had getting out of bed is long forgotten.  I also think about how great I feel once I’ve finished a run and even if I don’t run as far as I would have liked that at least I did something and doing something is what leads to consistency.  When I encounter a trail that is mostly uphill, I think how most of our lives are lived in the day to day uphill battles and how we don’t give up when we encounter these battles, but instead continue to press forward until we reach the summit.  These uphill battles make us stronger.  The steeper the hill, the more it prepares us to deal with smaller hills/setbacks that we encounter.  These steep hills also prepare us for even steeper hills that we may encounter in the future.  When I run on an unfamiliar trail or one with rugged terrain that causes me to stumble, just like in life, I learn from the stumble or fall, find my footing and make sure to stay alert for any other potential hazards.   And just like in my day to day life, I try to stay away from tracks that lead me in circles as I never want to be on a path that leads to nowhere.  However, sometimes they are unavoidable and in those instances I recognize that as much as I dislike running in circles, it is a means to an end and that sometimes we do what we have to, so we can end up where we want to. I was once told that life is a marathon, not a sprint and that the most progress is made during the difficult times.  Experience has proved these clichés to be founded in truth.  And so, when it seems that I’m having a difficult time keeping up or finding motivation, I remember that it’s not about keeping up, it’s about setting a goal for yourself and when necessary slowing down enough to keep yourself on pace to actually reach your goal.

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