Stop whining. Start running.

Generally speaking, I enjoy living in Western New York. Still, there are some things I really wish the region would address. Like having more public water fountains. (See my Twitter feed from this summer for my begging the City of Buffalo to install water fountains in all their parks. Some days in July just were not pretty.) Like having bike paths which didn’t consistently give me flat tires. (Perhaps they’re better now, but after the great tire blowout series of 2007, I have avoided the bike path along the river.) Like building an indoor track facility.

While there are some places in Western New York with makeshift indoor tracks, there is no facility with an actual track conducive to running an interval workout. (Carpeted cement doesn’t really count in my book as a viable option. Perhaps I’m tainted by my plantar fasciitis which derailed me last year.) The mild winter has been good for road running, but alas, when it comes to interval training days, the weather seems to turn just in time. The outdoor track I use for my workouts has pockets of ice. And with a winter weather advisory in the forecast, once again my interval workout went from the track to the treadmill.

Today’s workout: 1200 meter repeats. The good news is that the longer the distance, the slower the pace. The bad news is that it’s still a pretty quick pace. And the interval is longer. There’s something about gutting out a lightning quick 200 meter sprint that seems more doable than holding a steady, fast pace for more than six minutes. Really, it’s all in my head. And I know this. But I started out whining anyway. I let myself whine. It seemed cleansing. I whined through the entire two mile warmup. I whined when I took a sip of water and started to crank up the treadmill to the appropriate speed. And then, I stopped whining. I started running. Turns out there were three key facts to start off my Wednesday:

Fact: There is no indoor track facility nearby for me to use for my speed workouts.
Fact: The outdoor track is icy and the weather is borderline when it comes to safety for this particular workout.
Fact: I have my gym membership, a treadmill and my workout plan. I also have a bottle of water, my best running buddy Sue next to me and a Tim Horton’s gift card in my wallet.

Oh yes. Some days I whine. I look at what I don’t have. I see what is missing. I wish things were different. But inevitably once I start doing — once I start living my values, my beliefs, my dreams — the whining fades to the background. The whining stops because I’m too caught up in the moment — in the challenge of the interval or the joy of the rest of the pride and confidence of having accomplished my goal for the day — to be concerned with what is missing. Instead, I see what I have. I feel gratitude for this experience.

Yes, I would love an indoor track facility and more water fountains throughout the city of Buffalo. I could whine and complain and put my work on the back burner because conditions aren’t ideal. Or I can use what’s in front of me, make the most of it, and marvel at where my experiences take me. If I stop thinking and start doing, suddenly it no longer matters what the conditions are. I make my way, one interval at a time, until suddenly my workout is complete and I’ve gained strength and confidence. Where I am isn’t so bad after all.

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