This week has been the first week that running and work have truly conflicted. I can usually get up early enough or stay up late enough to get my workouts in without sacrificing too much. I mean, sometimes it requires getting up earlier than I’d like or staying up a little later than ideal but I can usually get it all in at a reasonable hour. This week I’ve had to make some tough choices– work or running? Sanity and sleep or hop on that treadmill at midnight?
Normally I’d do my best to just run when I can and not stress out about it, but the marathon is too close and I’ve worked too hard to slack off now. Work is a priority and ultimately comes before my training, but running is a higher priority than say, TV.
I’ve been able to get in all my miles but it has not been easy. I’m not quite like Kara Goucher who bought running shoes and ran in the airport since her flight was delayed, but I’m close. Yesterday I ran 9 miles at 4:30am and started feeling a little bit sorry for myself. I kept thinking about how everyone normal was in bed, was mad at them for not having to run 9 miles in the middle of the night with their blackberry on the treadmill just waiting for the word to jump off and go back to work… and then I remembered, “oh yeah. I chose this. This is something I love– no one is forcing me to run or train for marathons or get up in the middle of the night. I did this. My choice.” I figured it if it was my choice to be crazy then I just needed to own it and to give my workouts the respect they deserve.
I think, though, that I need running even more when life is crazy. When things are easy and life isn’t rushed I don’t crave miles like I do when it’s nuts. Although it was at 4:30 am or 11pm or literally on the side of I5 between Fresno and Sacramento with my garmin on one arm and my blackberry on the other, running is my oasis. It’s where I know exactly what to do and for how long and I just feel clean, refreshed and yes, smarter when I’m done. I can be quiet and chat with God or listen to horrible pop music and just zone out. Usually I do a combo of both unless I’m running intervals…
And yeah, everyone is making fun of me with my suitcase full of apples, almonds, Luna Bars, bananas and peanut butter… and yeah, I want In N Out instead, but I just have to keep reminding myself that this is something I want. Something that’s important to me and to quote Steve Prefontaine, “to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” For me, my best isn’t talent for moving my legs fast but my best is the ability ot get up at 4 or stay up unitl 1 and pound out miles. The gift is the ability to reach down and find even deeper levels of self-discipline and to own my choices. It’s not easy and some would say it’s not worth it, but I say that it is. And to give anything less than that is to sacrifices my gifts: youth, the ability to get less sleep than most, self-discipline and the desire to do it. So although it’s not talent, I’m still giving it all I’ve got.
And really, what I’m doing is comparatively small. Meb had two broken hips and came back. Deena Kastor has broken her foot a few times. I have friends who have to push 70 pounds of baby or beg friends to watch their kids so they can get out there. I just have to set my alarm.
I hope you’re giving your training what you’ve got. Because it’s the key to success. Whether that success is the Olympics or just to run a mile without stopping. You don’t have to be crazy (trust me, if I didn’t have a little marathon in 5 weeks I wouldn’t be this insane either) but you do owe it to yourself to give it all you’ve got. So find it!