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Yesterday, I was planning to run the longest I haven’t done for a long time. 1 hour. Haha, it is funny because when I used to do a triathlon, 1-hour jog was average. 15 min warm-up, 30 min main set and 15 min cool down.

But after a long time away from pounding the pavement, I figure let’s see how my body can handle going ‘long’. So I started off reasonably well. I didn’t really measure my pace and just going along with how my body feels. I tried not to run too fast, and an easy way is to sing. If I run too fast, I will end up breathing through my mouth and, thus, cannot sing. I can’t sing at all, but it doesn’t really matter. I just want to make sure I am cruising in aerobic.

So 15 min goes by, then 30 min and 45 min. I feel pretty good. With about 10 min to go, my knees were feeling stiff. Uh-oh. I never felt like that before. I walked for a bit to let the legs cool down. As I started running again, the feelings came back.

When you are out jogging or cycling, there are a lot of voices speaking to you. Ok, not the crazy ones. The one voice will say, “come on, Cliff. Just man up. This is the time to dig deep and keep pushing. You use to run for 3 hours. You can do it again. You can make it happen.”

Then there is another, “Cliff. You should slow down. This is not our normal soreness from fatigue. Stopping won’t hurt.”

The first voice is definitely one from my ego. And I realized something. It ain’t a new idea. It is a fact that a lot of my decisions, often is driven by ego.

If you think about it, the whole world is run on ego.

I make more money than you.
I have a bigger house than you.
I drive a fancier car than you.
Unfortunately, sometimes, even in ministry, I have a bigger ministry/church than you.

I thought about this for a while but never want to say it. But I want to. I want to because ego works. If your ego is strong enough, you can get your dream, crush your opponents, work hard and make those big bucks.

But is it healthy?

I remembered reading a triathlon training book, and the author suggested that to keep your ego in check, try doing your best training but don’t tell anyone. Or on your easy day, when a grandpa jogged past you, let him. I guess part of being older, the advantage is that I’ve made many mistakes by listening to my ego. In fact, most of the injuries I suffered from running were often related to ego with me pushing my body harder than it could handle.

So yesterday, what did I do? I listened to my second voice. I ended the run with 5 min to go. I told myself it is better to keep myself from getting injured and not running or bike for a week. I told myself 5 min is nothing. It is something, but it is also nothing. It is just a number. That number I can hit next time. I ain’t training for Olympics.

So that number can wait.

Until next time.

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