It has come to my attention that casual observers think we athletes eat nails for breakfast. This cracks me up. In reality, sneak a peek beneath our Under Armour (figuratively, people) and you’ll see super-soft, vulnerable underbellies. Apply a little elbow grease and you’ll expose a pensive pack that totally digs the parallels between the trials of life and the trials of time trials.
Case in point: with Nationals fast approaching, I am presently hell-bent on lifting my running speed. Running comes last in this love triangle of mine and ergo often gets the short end of my stick. But as my coach is so maddeningly fond of saying, “if you wanna run fast you’ve gotta run fast.” (Duh.) We aren’t in Hogwarts, so no wand exists (I’ve looked). Instead, I need to start by running faster than my body wants to for short bursts with long rest intervals in between efforts. Over weeks and months and heck even years (so much for getting this done before Nationals on August 20th), I’ll elongate the bursts and truncate the rest. Finally, after many moons have passed and many pedestrians have been subjected to my crying and cursing, I’ll deep-six the rest intervals and sustain a zippy cruising speed. So sayeth Coach Tim.
I ask you: does it get any cooler than this?
Everything in life that’s worth doing demands patience and persistence—perhaps a little stubbornness and stupidity, too. Whether you’re building a career, healing a broken heart, saving for retirement, or raising kids who won’t hate you (much) when they’re 40 and staring down their own tracks, doing tough stuff right hurts like hell.
Embrace your inner Slowski? Allow Failure to pounce as you pass? Don’t you dare.
With that I’ve gotta fly. It’s 5:38 a.m. and my entirely-nail-free breakfast is fully settled in my still-soft belly so I’m off to the track. Today’s mission: up the ante from Tuesday’s 10 x 400 (for those of you who are fluent in speed work, I did 1:40, 1:40, 1:44, 1:43, 1:40, 1:44, 1:45, 1:43, 1:45 and 1:40, each on a 2:20 send-off, thankyouveddymuch) by hitting four one-mile repeats at 7:20-7:30 with three-minute recoveries in between (gulp). For some reason my coach thinks I’m capable; I sure as hell hope he’s right. Then I’ll head home, ensure Daughter #2 packed something quasi-nutritious for lunch and take her for a quick tune-up at the orthodontist’s office before dropping her off at camp. Then I’ll head to the office to write the impossible press release that’s been stuck in my craw all week.
I wish you Godspeed as you go about picking up your pace in whatever life arena(s) you’re targeting. Perhaps our paths will cross on the track.