• Steven Gardner

I Deserve This...

Good morning everybody and happy Friday,

This morning while going through an old notebook i found a journal entry i had hand written a while back during a brain dump (as i tend to do after an event or inspiring training session) that i thought may speak to someone else in the interwebs. The title and concept were easy to write but hard to explain and since then i have been provided with even more examples of how i felt that day which helps with today's writing. That concept being "I Deserve This".

On this particular day i was being a lazy POS. I was laying around on the couch having fulfilled any duties required of me for the week as im sure we all are guilty of, hammering down on sugary cereal, beer, and whatever else i felt like that day since i wasnt really training for anything in particular. (note: still not an excuse, just how i felt at the time). "I DESERVE a day off" i thought, "ive kicked ass this week". The internal dialogue of complacency didnt sit well however, and i immediately got a pit of anxiety in my stomach. I couldnt do it, i had already allowed the weak thoughts to enter my being. I wasnt resting because it was benefitting me for recovery, i was resting because i felt entitled to rest like some bratty child who thinks because they wiped their own ass they deserve a cookie. I got up, kissed my wife and grabbed my trail running shoes.

I drove over to camp Croft in Spartanburg, SC. I know those trails like the back of my hand because of how much training i have done there. The whole drive though i couldnt help but notice the dark, southern storm clouds rolling in and thought "maybe i shouldnt run because of the rain?". Again the enemy of weakness creeping in; easily identifiable but even easier to listen to. Still i persisted on. When i pulled into the parking lot it was jam packed with other runners and mtn bikers but it seemed they were all packing their vehicles up and high tailing it out of there before the storm rolled in. Persistent to fight my inner demon, i tied my shoes up and took one last sip of water, rinsing the beer taste out of my mouth. About a mile into my 8 mile loop it started raining, not just any rain either. The type of rain that makes animals take cover. DOWNPOUR. Again i thought "i DESERVE this" because damn, it's not like the weather keeps itself secret. I saw the clouds but chose to ignore them. I stopped running for a second, no doubt feeling sorry for myself, and slowed my breathing enough to realize just how quite it actually was. Not a sound other than the rain, no animals, no people. It was the eeriest but most peaceful feeling i had ever felt. Finally it hit me, " NO, i deserve THIS". The circumstance was only how i chose to view it. I can choose to either "deserve" the rain cloud, or i can choose to deserve having the trail all to myself in a peaceful setting, either way, im right. I continued running and finally made it to my favorite area of the trail, the river. I sat down on a giant rock for a second, admiring the strength of the river being fueled by the rain when i saw a family of beavers. They were working their asses off building their home on the bank of the river, no doubt utilizing the high rain waters to pull more resources towards their tiny home. They were completely unfazed by the rain, this was their element. Laughing to myself i thought "they deserve this" while also admiring the fact that they had just taught me a valuable lesson.

How we view what we "deserve" is also how we view life. That day taught me to make my home in tough circumstances. While the normal is to run and hide in comfort during tough circumstances, i choose to make my home where the going gets tough. When things get tough i am just now getting into my element. I may not be physically as gifted as others that i compete against, but i can make my mindset one to be reckoned with.

Steven Gardner

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