Lessons in Adaptation on a “Failed” Run…

CW: Disordered eating and compulsive exercising

“Here we go again” is what came to mind as I popped in my ear buds and snapped the iPhone holder fanny pack thing around my waist again.

It was a warm evening, around 6:30pm when I decided out of nowhere to go for a run again. It had been a while, because well, winter isn’t my thing, and my running is more of a practice of BEING OUTSIDE AND OUT OF THE HOUSE in weather I enjoy, than about how well I can run. This is a shift that took a long time, but I finally feel like I’ve made peace with how to run for joy and in an intuitive way.

So I excused myself from bath time and bedtime duty, quickly got changed into stretchy stuff and laced up my colourful runners.  I just wanted to be able to go. I started so cautiously again. Run for a while, walk for a while, run for a while, walk for a while. It was great.

I was tired from a day outside, full from eating a burger, but it felt good to just GET OUT THERE. I relaxed with my husband for the rest of the evening and got that nice little “I did a thing that’s a little hard for me” tingle of awareness in my body the next day.

The next week, I planned to get myself on the same short route I usually take early in the morning. Jeff would be taking Grayson with him to the grocery store before he had to work for the day, so I wanted to take advantage of the ME time and get moving before it was too hot.

I got my stretchy stuff on, I snapped up that stretchy belt, slathered on the SPF and laced up those Nikes. I kissed my people off to the store and hit play on my CARDIO spotify playlist.

I didn’t make it 400m from my house before I felt that now familiar tightness in my lower back.


In times where I didn’t have the relationship I have now with movement, I may have kept going anyhow, I may have pushed through to burn the calories or make the most of it. I might have also turned back in defeat. I might have felt really bad about myself and tried to not eat as much to make up for it.

But instead I walked. I re-routed and I walked. I made a few more feeble attempts at running a few steps, but my back yelled “NOPE” so I slowed down. I walked into King’s Forest for 15 minutes and then I walked back out.

There was a time where I would have considered this failure.

Now I know I’m wise enough to adapt to what my body needs.


Diet culture and living in capitalist culture has taught us so often that if you don’t stick to your plan, you are failing at discipline and consistency. This thinking makes us override the signals our bodies and brains (which are one and the same) may be sending to us. I wholeheartedly believe in the magic of routine and ritual but know that we live in a world where things are in perpetual motion and always changing. We know this from living through this pandemic right?

So, something to consider. Next time something doesn’t go to plan. Next time you start something that doesn’t quite work out. Next time you do something big and scary, that maybe doesn’t produce the results you want it to, consider it an opportunity to ADAPT.

How can you make do?

How can you be creative with it?

What did you learn?

What did you gain anyhow?

So on that “failed” run… how did I adapt?

How did I make do? I went for a walk instead.

How was I creative with it? I changed my route to a better route for a walk.

What did I learn? That going for a run with no warm ups is hard on my body at 7am, but not in the evening when I’ve been up and moving all day

What did you gain anyhow? I was out of my PJs and ALONE at 7am, a rare occurrence indeed.

I know those voices that tell you you’re not good enough, or not doing it right, can be LOUD. I hear them too. But next time they start harping on you, remember : Feelings are not facts. And sure, maybe you did fail, but also, maybe you’re just adapting. So good for you.


May 27, 2021

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