I’m writing this on a runner’s high. I have a big week of training and some big workouts out on the schedule. And so far? I seem to be crushing it. I’m sure this week seems like such a triumph because I was extremely low energy the past two weeks while I tried to kick the head cold that stayed for far longer than it was welcome. This week by comparison, I’m feeling like superwoman. It’s a great feeling.
There were several times during my workout today when I felt like quitting. Like I could just stop my watch, jog a bit, get my breath back, and mosey on home. “It would be so easy”, I thought.
There’s that moment when you’re pushing through a speed workout when you feel your muscles “drop”, when they almost let go. It’s almost like your transmission sputters for a second and you realize that your body could stop at any minute if only your mind decided that’s what it wanted (or should) do. It’s that moment when you think that you have your cruise control set, you take your foot off the pedal, and you’re shocked to find that you are decelerating instead of accelerating.
And then? You make a decision. As a runner, you decide whether or not the feeling of quitting is going to trump the feeling of finishing strong, no matter how hard it might hurt. And if you’re like most runners, you probably know that deciding to continue almost always pays off in the end. You finish the workout wondering why you ever even considered giving it up and throwing in the towel on your dreams.
But that’s the challenge, isn’t it? We make a choice in this singular moment. The moment between succeeding and quitting.
We choose pain over comfort.
We choose struggle over the “easy” way.
We choose to be a little more crazy and a little less defeatist.
We choose to prove to ourselves that the “what if” can actually come true.
We choose to push when we really don’t want to.
Because the alternative seems crazy when you really sit down and think about it.
It’s a bit of mental jiu-jitsu we play with ourselves. (I played this game a lot with myself in a matter of 5 miles today.) The funny part about running is that you’re never just going to have one of these moments. It’s called long distance running for a reason, people. Just because I chose pain over comfort once in today’s workout didn’t mean that I was done making decisions. I had to make the same decision about 10 more times before the workout was finished.
[I just verbally vomited a ton of platitudes all over this blog post. And I'm not going to delete them.]
I ran the fastest mile repeats I’ve ever run in my entire life today. That’s not a small feat. I will struggle to outdo myself the next time this workout is on my schedule, just like the time before that. Proving to myself that I can run faster and longer over time is a battle with no one else but myself. It’s a battle with that moment between allowing my muscles to disengage and to keep pushing forward. The small bit of irony in all of this is that 1 minute after that repeat, you feel like you could conquer yet another one. “Sure, bring it on!” you tell yourself. And so, you do.