Well, this is a first for my blog. A poem. Hang on, I know what you’re thinking. A poem? Yes, a poem. Truth be told, I usually can’t help what ends up here. My thoughts and words just somehow magically transport themselves from my subconscious to the screen you are now reading. And today, that was in the form of a poem. Enjoy.

Run Today
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If I Did Not Run Today

I ran today, but what if I didn’t?

I barely made it three miles and it was far from a sprint.

I rolled out of bed with all kinds of excuses.

A sore foot, aching back, and a leg full of bruises.

So rather than run and suffer the pain,

I settled on the couch for something much more mundane.

Five minutes later, my conscience kicked in.

I soon found myself, much to my chagrin

Lacing up my shoes and applying Ben-Gay

And racing out the door without further delay.

Mile One

My voices, they said “what is the point?

You know you’ll probably throw out your hip joint.

You’re too old or too young, too slow and too fat,

You just got passed by a handicapped cat.

Why do you go on like this even matters?

Can you not hear the sound of your ankle bones shatter?”

Mile Two

Well you made it all the way through one mile.

I guess it’s OK if you break out a smile.

But don’t you think this changes who you truly are,

Just because you finally made it past that parked car.

You’re still old, fat, slow, and just lazy.

This whole idea of running is pretty much crazy.

You know that you never finish what you start.

You know that deep down in your heart.

Mile Three

So, come on, there’s still time to quit.

Go home, you want to, just admit it.

You know that you can’t make it much farther.

Give up when it hurts and be just like your father.

“NO!” I screamed in response to my voice.

I decided that I could make my own choice.

And break the cycle that my dad started.

I would go on. I would not be fainthearted.

The End

It’s funny how one act can make your inner voice change.

It sounds so familiar and yet it sounds so strange.

Just moments before it said I’d drop dead.

As I turned to walk home, here’s what it said:

“You did it. You made it. If only three miles.

Now that you’ve finished, add this to the file

Of all the times you told yourself that you can’t but you did.

The list that started when you were a kid.

And chose to study longer so you’d make an “A.”

Rather than go out with your friends to play.

You continued a pattern that makes you a champ.

And eases the pain of that left leg cramp.

You did what was right and chose to obey.

You’ll never know the pain of ‘if I did not run today.'”

How can you apply this to your life?

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27 thoughts on “If I Did Not Run Today. | A Running Poem

  1. Let's Grow Leaders says:

    Phewww… good thing it wasn’t a marathon, you’d have to write a whole collection… hmmm. maybe that’s an idea 😉 Fun change of pace.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      HA! 26 miles of that…yikes.

      1. Paige Gordon II says:

        I wouldn’t think it would be that hard though. After like mile 10 all you would have to say is “Ouch, Ouch, Ouch, Ouch” and you’d probably have it covered. 🙂

      2. Matt McWilliams says:

        I’m about to go half that far in a few weeks. Sigh.

      3. Paige Gordon II says:

        nice man! I hope it goes well for you

  2. Paige Gordon II says:

    I love the last line Matt! Too often we forget that there are terrible consequences when we try to avoid the pain of truly valuable things in life. And props for having the guts to put it out there as a poem!

  3. Steve Pate says:

    So I got one for you, a hum….i got up early to work out, but instead I sat down to see what Matt McWilliams was writing about!

    Your poem was like kicking me in the shin for allowing the pillow and excuses take over my thinking. Thanks Matt for a great poem! Well done.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      So you went to workout?

      1. Steve Pate says:

        At 3:30pm today! On paper with purpose! First time in six weeks. Tore my hamie and its healed enough to start working out again.

      2. Matt McWilliams says:

        Make it a great one.

  4. Lily Kreitinger says:

    Dr Seuss would be jealous right now. Doing what you have to do to succeed is painful and unpleasant at times. Being ahead of 98% of your peers is fun! Thanks for the reminder that pain has a purpose.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Funny…when I read it to myself, the voice in my head was the same as the one when I read Dr. Seuss.

  5. Katherine Leicester says:

    Purposeful vulnerability is a sign of great leadership.

    1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      Translation: Matt’s a great leader

      1. Katherine Leicester says:

        The facts do seem to point in that direction!

  6. Jana Botkin says:

    Well, dang. I got up really really early with great intentions, started catching up on the emails, real mail, the knitting piles, organizing, cleaning, whatever, and when I finally get to your blog WHAM! I didn’t walk this a.m. and then I read this???

    Thanks, Matt.


    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      My pleasure! 🙂

  7. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    Stellar post Matt. What a great message for me about how important small, seemingly insignificant actions can make a huge difference in our lives!

    …and who knew you could wax poetic!!?!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Certainly not me 🙂

      1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        Now we expect weekly poetry showcases…

      2. Matt McWilliams says:

        No chance.

  8. Jon Stolpe says:

    I think it’s something many of us feel whether it be running or related to the hard work required pursuing a dream.

    I made it four this morning, but it took some personal convincing to get me out the door. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will do it again!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Love it Jon.

      I technically wrote this a while back, so I made 5.49 today. Curse that last 0.01…I hit the stop button too soon haha.

  9. Zech Newman says:

    I have learned to love running and now run marathons. I could only run 3/4 of a mile two years ago. Just like most things there is fun on the other side of pain. Keep up the good work with writing and running. They feed off each other.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I think you’re right…they do tie together a lot.

  10. Kirbie Earley says:

    Great poem! I do the same stuff when I’m on the elliptical at the gym. I am not “allowed” to run since a partial knee replacement, so I opt for the gym. I try to do 30 minutes at a pace that would equate running. I slow down from time to time, but at 15 minutes the chatter as you mentioned starts “you’re tired, just stop now, do some bike and a little treadmill and go home”. I resist. At 20 minutes, the voices keep on going – “yay 20 minutes great now, bike, treadmill, home” but still I somehow overcome. Finally I get to the 30 minute mark and the voices, like yours are all about “see I knew you could do it!” – WHAT? 🙂

    Once I get into the habit of exercising, I have no problem going to the gym, it’s staying on the equipment long enough to undo lunch that is often my downfall. So far, I have not gotten off of anything before I wanted to but that little devil is always sitting there trying.

    Good on you for sticking with it!!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Keep resisting the negative voices Kirbie!

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