Embracing the Hard Days

This morning’s tempo run was one of those workouts. It started promisingly enough. When I rolled out of bed at 5:30 and checked my calendar to see what was on the schedule, I thought “Great. 5 mile tempo at 8:19. No problem–I ran a 10K faster than that a few weeks ago.” Visions of flitting daintily over the treadmill while watching Sportscenter danced in my head.

Reality, however, is a cruel and sweaty mistress. Thanks to the incessant rain of the past several days and the warm front that just moved in, the gym had transformed overnight into a hot, humid pain cave. By the time I had finished my warm-up, I knew I was in for a rough time. I was already so sweaty that my Yurbuds kept falling out, which NEVER happens and is kind of the point of Yurbuds. (It also raises the unsettling question of whether the insides of my ears were actually sweating.) .05 miles into the actual tempo portion of the run, the cheeriest thought I could muster was, “Well, I’m 1% of the way there.” Generally when this kind of running math pops into my head, I eventually lose interest, or at least lack the blood sugar to maintain the calculations for long. Today, however, I managed to count up, 1% at a time ( and if you’re playing the home game, that’s every 80 meters), for five miles.

It was hot, sweaty, and physically and emotionally draining, which is really everything a tempo run should be. One of my goals for this training cycle has been to get better at embracing the hard days. I made a deal with myself that I don’t have to like it, but I do have to find the good in what is difficult. The heat, the driving rain, and the days when I’m redlining on the last three intervals all make the workout (and ultimately me) that much better. So there.

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