This year, so far, I’ve had a lot of workouts I thought I simply couldn’t do. Lots of 2 x 20′ at 6:40 pace or 7 x 5′ at 6:30 or 30′ in-and-out (7:10, 6:45, etc). And I was just like straight up: nope, Coach Mario is wrong, I’m not this fast. Guess I’ll just try and fail, so he’ll believe me that I can’t do it.
But, instead, I have nailed pretty much every workout. I haven’t had a single one (I can think of) that I was unable to complete or hit the times. They’ve sucked, but none have been as bad as I expected them to be, since I expected them to be un-doable. I have been killing it in workouts. [Obviously, me being me, this has also created a situation where I’m now convinced the next one is going to be the un-doable workout. That the magic is going to fall apart at any moment. Don’t look directly at it.]
Yesterday, I had a workout that didn’t sound that bad. It was a long run, 13.5-14 miles, with the last 6-7 miles at slightly up-tempo pace (like 7:30s). Totally do-able. I was not worried.
It sucked. Just blew. I was huffing and puffing and pumping my arms and squinting my eyes and dragging my legs and trying not to dry heave. The homeless people who live under the bridge were very concerned about me. All of that just to run a 7:34 mile. That’s not ok.
But, I think it really sucked simply because I didn’t expect it to. In reality, my expectations should have been tempered. I had a long week last Monday-Friday. I then was up Saturday at 6 a.m. and in bed at 3 a.m. — and by bed I mean on someone’s couch. I chased down a ferry Sunday (full speed mile sprint) and missed. With my phone dead and the next ferry not for three hours, I had to improvise. I should have expected the run on Monday to suck and then I might have been pleasantly surprised if it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.
The thing about thinking things are going to be the worst possible is that they’re rarely as bad as you imagine and if they are, well, then, at least you’re prepared. When I swam Trans-Tahoe last summer with no wetsuit, I fundamentally believed I was going to go into shock and drown from the cold as soon as I jumped in. When I didn’t die, everything else didn’t seem that bad.
That’s some perspective.