Fatigue Makes a Cowards of Us All

Suddenly I woke up.

In what seemed like I had slept 8 hours, I looked at my watch and was sorely disappointed, I only slept 2. But now, I was wide awake, and it was only 12:38 am. Now, what do I do? I tossed and turned, and stretched out a groggy 3 hours of in and out napping until 4am when I decided it was time to just get up.

Not unlike many other people during this quarantine, I have experienced frequent sleep disruption. Thankfully though, my bouts of sleeplessness happen every other week, and it’s usually just an evening or two. Eventually, my tired body has enough, and I crash for a night or two.

As I write this, I am fatigued. Last night was one of those nights. However, life still goes on. I have work duties to perform, and house responsibilities to fulfill. Tired or not, the show must go on.

This morning, I waged an internal battle whether or not to go for my daily 10k run. I felt like garbage, my legs were sluggish just walking around the house. My mind tried it’s best to persuade me from going. It quickly whipped up a whole army of excuses, scenarios and escape clauses as to why I shouldn’t run today. “You’re tired! Stay home! Run tomorrow!

Mental fatigue, please meet physical fatigue

Isn’t it true that whenever you’re tired, the excuses come out to get you out of almost anything? You become a coward to the reasons your mind makes up to not do something that you know you should do. When you’re fatigued, you will give up anything to avoid any further discomfort. How much fortitude do you have left?

You just don’t have the mental capacity to satisfy the physical void

In the end, I did make it out for a run this morning. Was it my best run? Far from it. Did I feel like shit? Sure did! I just wasn’t going to give into my coward. Fatigue was not going to get me. Regardless of how horrible I was going to perform in my game, I played it anyway. I had something to learn from this run today.

Learning how to play when you’re tired allows you to access pieces of your soul that you’ve never seen before. I saw that part of me in the last 7kms of my¬†first marathon. As a portal to the spark that sits in the base of my being, I saw energy I never knew I had. All because I refused to coward to the part of my brain that said: “Stop! You’re tired!

Don’t get me wrong, we all need regular rest. I’m a huge proponent that in rest, is where we grow. Fatigue is an indicator of stress, and stress is the first indicator of fracture. You don’t want to break yourself.

Routinely pushing your limits allows you to see the difference between the fatigue of the mind versus the fatigue of the body. And in that routine, you learn to understand where your breaking point is. It’s that moment, that you should exercise rest.

I hope tonight I get the sleep I need. If not, the coward within me may just win playing the fatigue card when I step out for my run tomorrow.