Thursday, February 28, 2013

Respecting Progress

"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing and about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."
C.S. Lewis
In my almost 29 years of life, I've made more than my fair share of mistakes.

I've said awfully hurtful things to those that love and support me the most,
I've consciously made the wrong decision on purpose on several occasions,
I've continually allowed myself to be blinded by my selfish desires,
And, I've let myself lose sight on what life is really about.

I'm not perfect.
Never have been and never will be.

Sometimes I learn from my short comings, and sometimes I don't.
It happens because I'm just like everyone else where I often get caught up the the less important parts of life and miss those monumentally great life lessons.

After beating the crapola out of myself last year, I finally came to my senses late fall and decided it was time to give the running and racing thing a bit of rest. Stop pining away at my senseless goals that make me turn all Natalie Portman in Black Swan and take care of myself. After all, life is short and you only get one shot where if you don't take care of yourself who can you really expect to? 

So, I took 2 weeks off of running to let my body rest and that pesky foot heal.
Then I slowly started running again. Not too much, but just enough to regain a bit of my sanity.
At first the miles didn't feel easy and I wasn't convinced that my fitness would ever come back.

But I've kept on. Slow and steady.

Progress is hard to describe, and noticing it's imprints in my own life isn't one of my strengths. I've spent my entire life chasing it down, measuring, logging, charting, graphing, and blabbering on and on and on about it till I've bored myself and others to death. Uuughh, nauseating. 

But a funny thing has happened recently, and I've finally begun to grasp the concept of what progress really means. I've spent a lot of time thinking that I have complete and utter control of my rate of progress for everything, especially running. The I want, therefore it shall be way of thinking has been relentlessly breaking my heart since the 90's.

Turns out that once you stop obsessing over the rate at which things evolve will be the moment things start to make a turn in the right direction.

While the snowy trails can put a damper on planned workouts,
they can do wonders for the soul.
...they shall be white as snow.

The time I took off wasn't the miracle cure to my over trained body and it hasn't magically created lightening speeds radiating from my legs. But it has given me perspective and appreciate of the process of growth within myself. Monday I was able to do something that was unthinkable and physically impossible to me 6 to 8 months ago, I was able to tempo.

4 painfully hilly tempo miles where my lungs were burning and my heart was fervently bleeding passion anticipating the next foot strike. 

It hurt, my mind wandered, my splits were all over the place, and those hills played me for a fool.

But I managed to make it through the workout in one piece and still be a functioning person afterwords.   My splits weren't anything brag worthy, and this workout didn't exactly put me on the fast track into the elite world, but it was a baby step in the right direction for me and for that I'm extremely grateful.
"As long as you trust that things happen for a reason and just put your head down, focus and just keep working hard, then things usually work out."
Amy Hasting in the January issue of Competitor Magazine 


  1. Even a week off of running will do wonders for me. Late last spring I was struggling through all of my runs and grew to almost hate running. I took a month off and cross trained instead, doing whatever I pleased. I started running again when I wanted to and when that happened I was considerably faster. I was more motivated too

  2. Oh gosh. All I can think is - where is that?! That is a killer run. So happy that the break helped things figure themself out kind of own their own.

    I can relate way too much to making wrong, selfish decisions on purpose.

  3. FANTASTIC tempo, and wise words. I've made a LOT of bad decisions too but at some point I realized there's no use feeling guilty about them forever. It sounds like you've come a long way. Good work.

  4. wowsa! I love your determination...and there is such a quiet wisdom in this post that truly touched me today. xoxo

  5. Nice. I love hearing about how "letting go" a bit can lead to big gains. You're going to have an awesome year.

  6. You are amazing! Nice splits. Keep at it.

  7. Really appreciated this post... I'm not close to your level but I think even for rec runners this stuff is important to remember! Progress is progress!