The workout that failed

It was a difficult run. It was bound to happen. After all, my workouts had been going so well, my races were personal bests every time I stepped to the starting line, that I needed some karmic reminder that training for a half marathon is hard work.

And so my interval treadmill run on Tuesday was, well, sub-par would be a nice way to put it. Epic fail are other words which come to mind. I failed on several of my 600s, unable to make the full time/distance at the prescribed pace. Maybe it was getting accustomed to doing speedwork on the treadmill. Maybe it was a difficulty in focus. Maybe it was the extra holiday pounds and poor sleep the night before.

Regardless, I was near tears, taking longer breaks than my coach offered and wondering what had gone wrong. I tried with each new interval to focus only on that one. Sometimes it worked. Other times it didn’t.

Was I regressing? Had I done something to upset the running gods? Was karma finally coming to collect at least a small amount of what I likely owe?

As I wallowed in a prolonged rest, a woman who was running on a treadmill behind me stopped by my side.

“I just wanted to thank you,” she said. “You don’t know it, but you pushed me through my workout.”

Hmm.

Maybe part of today’s workout was to help another person through her workout. That type of production won’t help me reach any goals at the Disney half marathon. But then again, maybe I need to be reminded of why I run (and bike and swim) in the first place — for the challenge, for the feel, for the friendship, for the extra push. If my workout helped another person in some small way, who was I to call it an epic fail?

Later that morning I ran into a friend with whom I had lost regular contact over the last few years and life often gets in the way of keeping in touch — even if you life in the same city. It was great to see Julie randomly in a hallway in downtown Buffalo. It felt even better to get the unsolicited compliment on how I looked. There are some days when you just need to hear that. And Julie, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

By mid-morning the fact that I struggled through the workout became more about doing it, about surviving the struggle, rather than dwelling on the struggle part. It’s not about having a bad workout. It’s about how I come back today.

And the universe reminded me, yet again, it’s not always about the numbers. It’s about showing up.

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