Every morning, I wake up stiff and achy. It's a struggle to get myself out of bed, and mobilized enough to make myself some coffee. Every morning I catalog my pains, figuring out the level of discomfort coming from each, and which (if any) are bad enough that I should consider them injuries.
And it makes me smile.
I smile because every ache, every pain, is due to exercise. It lets me know that I am pushing my body once again. Growing beyond my limits.
I am leaving the safe and comfortable zone, and making myself grow again. Growth can be painful, scary, exhausting, and frustrating. But oh man is it worth it.
I ran my second 3 mile run of the week last night. While I sat stretching afterward, feeling the ache in my calves and knowing I would have to coddle my legs the next day, I started thinking about the barriers I've busted through.
Not too long ago, I was struggling to break the two mile mark. Not too long before that, struggling to run for longer than 20 minutes straight. And before that, struggling even to run at all. Each time the barrier seemed unbreakable. I would feel trapped under a self-imposed limit, and feel like I had pushed myself as hard as I was capable of. Then one day, it would just happen. I would run farther, faster.
Now is the time when I need to be cautious. To pull the reigns in a bit on myself. Now is the point where I tend to over train, to push too hard, and fall victim to injury. I need to remember to let my muscles build slowly, and to let them rest.
But still, this is a good pain.