Today running was a chore. Yesterday and the day before, running was a chore. I was a little sick over the weekend: sore throat, slight fever, kinda rundown, definitely tired. The 8 mile run I did last Thursday plum near killed me...okay, I’m exaggerating, but I sure felt crummy afterwards. I totally scrapped the 14-miler on my schedule for the weekend, and I won’t make it up. Scrapping a long run in the middle of marathon training is not advisable. But I was sick, and it’s summer so being sick sucks. I rested. That was the right decision.
So Monday rolled around and I had big plans to amp up my mileage so I could feel “back on track.” I planned for 8 miles, then got out there and ran...3. And they were slow, my legs were as heavy as a mastadon’s, and I felt every fraction of my feeble 1 degree fever. Tuesday, I was more realistic, planning for 6, then I got out there and ran...4. Ugh. Finally, this morning, I managed 6 miles. In a couple more days I have to slog out 14 miles one way or another. I suspect I’ll manage it, with the help of frequent walk breaks, maybe a Snickers bar in the middle or something.
The good news is I’m feeling better. Healthier everyday, getting plenty of rest and hydration. It was just a lousy blip of a bug. Still, running was a chore, and may continue to be a chore for a while. I have never been able to anticipate which mornings would hold running magic...unexpected speed or a perfect sunrise or the feeling that Orion was perched in the sky just to cheer for me. I hope I get a morning like that soon, but I never will if I stop running when it becomes a chore.
But here’s the thing about me and chores. I hate them. I feel genuine malice toward them; they do soul-crushing damage to me. I have never met the person who enjoys them, who goes out of their way to enjoy a little vaccuuming or a good bed-making. I’ve heard they exist, but they may deserve protected status because they are a rare and disappearing breed. I belong to a different species: non-home-making, would rather eat bon-bons, can deal with a little (or big) mess if it will save me a little time and energy, because even if I do it the dirt will come back and the bed will get slept in tonight anyways. And that’s just the beginning of my problems with chores.
Not only do I hate spending energy in the vortex of do-it-all-again-tomorrow activity, but I feel a sapping of my true nature when I do so. I’m made for better than this, right? I’ve heard the line about serving those you love in the small ways. I know managing pesky responsibilities offers a reward of comfort and gratitude. I understand that it’s part of being a good steward of my blessings. Still. I want to change the world, not rearrange my furniture. If I prioritize chores, something happens in me that scares me: I find myself forgetting the sublime, only able to remember tasks. When Martha takes over in me, Mary gets pushed all the way out. And Martha is boring.
Some of my good friends, those women I admire for all the ways they are different than me, garden. Some of them sew or paint. Some of them now raise chickens for fresh eggs. They are pioneer-strong, rocket-scientist-smart, makers-of-masterpieces, embodiments of grace and familial love. And their houses are cleaner than mine. But, darn it, this week I ran even when it was a chore. So I’m not a hopeless case yet. Gene, honey, no promises, but I’ll try to take all my chores a little bit more in stride.