This thought came to me in the middle of a hard treadmill effort this week, because I seriously wanted to cry. That great scene in A League of Their Own flashed into my head and I thought, well there may be no crying in baseball but there’s a ton in running!
Runners can be very emotional. All those endorphins pumping thorough your veins cause very high highs and extremely low lows. I was given the great advice of “it’s never as bad as it seems and never as good either” as I embarked on my first marathon. It’s was ridiculously true.
So why did I want to cry on the treadmill this past Wednesday? I have a list:
I returned from the warmth of Vegas to more snow, sleet, freezing rain and freezing temps
I did my 14-mile long run on Monday in the snow and wind (the kind of wind I yell at)
Tuesday I did a strength training workout followed by teaching a killer (if I do say so myself) hour spin class
Which brings us to Wednesday where I had a 2800 yard (1.5 mile) swim and 8×800 run scheduled. Both of my kids woke-up at 4am and one didn’t go back to sleep. I also had to shovel wet, heavy snow from the foot of my driveway before going to the gym. My workout seemed daunting, to say the least.
I’m not telling you all of this to say “look at how much I did” or claim I have it harder then some, because the opposite is probably true. I simply want to set the stage for my near breakdown on the treadmill.
After a great swim, I stared down the old mill, stinking of chlorine. I was already feeling defeated. Not a good start to speed work. I told myself to just start running and see how I feel.
The first mile sucked.
The second was better.
Warm-up over and I pushed up the speed to a 6:30 pace to start my first 800.
Slowed it down for a quarter mile (400) and launched into round two.
This is when I wanted to cry.
I started to question all of my training, my age, my fitness level, my sanity – all of it. I started to go down that rabbit hole of hurt and pain and not good enough. It was dark and scary and I wanted to cry.
But I kept going.
I thought of Tom Hanks delivering that message – “there’s no crying in baseball!” – a look of disgust on his face. I thought about all the times I’ve seen runners crying tears of joy or in the agony of defeat. I thought about all the crying in running, and I pushed on.
Now, it’s important to note that I was fatigued (mostly mentally) and my body ached but the only thing in jeopardy of being injured was my ego. There’s a fine line between pushing it and being a moron.
As I started round four, I decided I would hold on for six instead of eight and that would be good enough.
I decided I was good enough and that when I felt fatigued in mile 22 of the marathon I would think back to this treadmill run and know that I can push though it. There’s a lesson in every training session after all, and this was it.
I’m always telling clients and classes that they can do more then they think. I did a hell of a lot more then I thought I could on the treadmill that day and you can too.
I know some may think that running and racing is easy for me, and this should prove that it’s not. Everyone who races (no matter the race) struggles. Everyone who has ever gone for a run knows what it’s like to suffer.
Running not only trains your body to be better, faster and stronger but it trains your mind too. Once I changed my mindset about that run, I knew I was going to make it to the finish.
I was in control all along, I just had to believe it.
The next time you’re working out and suffering and want to cry, tell yourself this – you can cry your eyes out, but you need to finish first! And then kill it.
What makes you want to cry these days?
How do you overcome tough workouts or tough life lessons?
What’s a movie or song quote that keeps you going?