I am one of those wacky people who believes in “signs”. Fortune cookies, the little ditties on my Yogi tea bags, the just-right song at the just-right time…call me crazy but I am a big believer that these are gifts from above.
So yesterday when I finally cracked open the local-schmocal newspaper-ish thingy that’s been on my dresser for about a week, it was obvious to me that some poor ad sales guy failed to meet his quota just so the editor would pop this quote in as filler and I would, several days after its actual publication, get the message so clearly meant for little ol’ me:
“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.”
– Harry Truman
That pretty much sums up every step of the last 25 weeks of my life, since Children’s Hospital put me on its Miles for Miracles team. My fundraising effort for Children’s, my marathon training, heck, even my goofy Run Marlborough project and let’s not forget my home life and work life–everything could have been done better. But aiming for complete perfection would have been paralyzing. So instead, everything has been done to something approaching the best of my ability at that given moment. [Well, most things have been done; here I insert heartfelt apologies to my daughter’s orthodontist for our failure to show once (or was it twice?) and to my sports masseur to whom I have proven time and again that I am my father’s daughter (Dad’s license plate is, kid you not, LATE)].
I took this quote with me (in the figurative, not literal, sense) when I laced up Pair A for yesterday’s run which combined two tough-for-me elements: speed work on the high school track chased down with the bitter pill of hill repeats. (For the runners amongst you, it was two sets of this: 6×400 at 8:00 pace with one minute recoveries / easy run to nearby hill / three one-minute hill repeats with jog back / five minutes easy run).
My execution, of course, was perfectly imperfect. I’m a rookie when it comes to speed control; I’m no longer “Single Speed CJ” yet I struggle to hit and hold any given pace. My 8:00 pace never manifested itself; I ran my 12 400s in paces ranging from an exuberant 7:00 to a more sedate 7:48, averaging out to 7:27. Anything resembling a steady pace on the hill was even harder to hold–those ranged from a take-THAT-Heartbreak-Hill! 8:02 to a someone-please-kill-me-now-and-put-me-out-of-my-misery! 8:58. (Those fluent in Garmin-ese will find a full report of the damage here. Careful observers will note that I nabbed the final leg of Red Spring Road as my warm up, to add to the Run Marlborough collection–66% of the city covered thusfar 🙂 )
Despite its challenges, the speed/hill combo made me smile thinking how far I’ve come in 25 weeks. I am faster. Stronger. More competent. More confident. I am perfectly ready to run my first marathon, in a thoroughly imperfect way.
Of course, the words of our 33rd president are now taped to my mirror right alongside my ever-growing collection of Yogi tea bag and fortune cookie sayings.
You go have yourself a perfectly imperfect day!