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It wanted to stay in bed, but I wanted to run. 

It sucks being sick. Having a raw itchy throat, a leaking nose and a cough that erupts out of nowhere? That’s no fun. 

But just imagine now, for a second, that you’re sound asleep, wrapped tight within your covers, breathing deeply and quietly. It’s 4:52am and you’re deep inside a dream, until suddenly your partner nudges you on the elbow. It’s 5am, and you’re reminded that it’s time to do your daily run. You groan and let out a raspy cough. 

Seriously?! 

I remember, quite clearly that morning, what my mind had told me as I slowly, yet reluctantly put on my workout clothes: 

You’re sick! Why don’t you take it easy and tell your bear (what I call my boyfriend) that you’ll walk today? 

Or better yet, why don’t you skip the walk entirely and do some stretching? 

Actually, it’s better to get some more zzzs. Why don’t you stay in bed? 

When the mind is consciously present, and you’re probably very familiar with this, it likes to make hundreds of excuses to protect you from ever experiencing pain and discomfort. It wants to sleep in. It wants to watch TV. It wants to dive in for that cake instead of mustering up the courage to talk to a potential friend. You can try (if you dare) to negotiate with your mind to settle down on a more reasonable piece of action that would satisfy both of your desires, but chances are, it’s going to triumph over you — especially the longer the negotiation goes. 

That’s why I tried, in every way that I could think of, to tune out what my mind was telling me, because deep down, I did want to run. 

Running has always washed away my worries and concerns, giving space for bigger matters. It would energize me in a way that coffee can’t (coffee effects only last 1–2 hours before tapering off). It would help me quickly bounce back from criticism and failure thanks to the lingering residue of endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for making you feel euphoric and for fighting through the pain. Because running offers more rewards than it takes from you, I felt it was worth it in the end to run despite how sick I felt. 

And so, I stepped outside, ignoring every plea my mind could think of that could possibly change my mind. And sure enough, it was screaming. 

But I wasn’t going to give in.

Because what I realize about the mind is that it will always choose comfort over growth. Safety over experiences. And for me, life is all about challenging yourself to becoming the person you couldn’t imagine being. 

If only I could listen to my first thoughts (my gut instinct), and not waste an ounce of energy on my second thoughts, will I be able to truly accomplish my greater self. 

I’m rebuilding my life by discovering who I am, learning what I’m capable of after a 9 year heartbreak that left me stranded in China.

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