Yesterday afternoon, I went for a run. The weather was nice and it wasn't too hot, and I had finished a whole bunch of class prep stuff, so I decided to reward myself with a run. (Yes, I know, I'm weird.)
The run wasn't one of my better ones. The first 10-15 minutes were OK, normal pace, all that jazz. After that, I started to feel really, really tired. I was sucking down water and struggling through terrain that I usually do with ease. I had to stop and walk up a short but steep hill that I normally handle with ease. I felt myself starting to cramp.
And then I ran out of water.
The younger me would have kept running. "Hey, I'm only a mile or so from home; I'll be fine!" But the older, wiser, post-almost-ended-my-running-altogether-injury me knows that no run is worth risking my health over. That dehydration on a warm summer day is nothing to take lightly. That cramps and fatigue are not good signs. So I stopped running and walked the rest of the way home, slowly, so that the cramps would stay at bay.
I think what happened is that I was dehydrated at the start of my run, and that things just deteriorated from there. And unfortunately, around here none of my running routes have water fountains (not even at the parks! unbelievable), so whatever water I carry is the only water I have for my run, and that was clearly not enough this time. I'm still dehydrated today.
Part of growing up is having the wisdom to know when to push yourself and when to give yourself a break. Sometimes you need the push to get yourself past complacency, but other times pushing will just leave you broken, injured, burned out. Knowing the difference is tricky; it comes with experience, but also in trusting your instincts. Trusting my instincts yesterday definitely prevented me from injuring myself or suffering heat exhaustion. In the past, I have ignored my instincts and suffered the consequences (the injury I mentioned above was one of those times).
I wish I could remember this lesson more often in my professional life, too.