Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Change Challenge

(Turn around and face the strain)...

What is this vague sense of unhappiness and negativity I've been feeling ever since I started my new training plan?

Over the weekend, the last 40 minutes of my 16 mile progression run brought the answer clearly into focus for me. As I tried to push through the fatigue to increase my pace, I realized how exactly like the marathon this type of running is. This led to a series of revelations that went something like this:

"Ha! I have correctly zeroed in on what I need more of in order to improve". Elation!

"Whew! I have a good training plan. Plenty of Tempo, Progression and MP runs." Relief!

"Shit! I am really suffering right now. I don't want to do this." Anger! Rebellion!

"Fuck! There's no way around it. No cheating. You have to pay the price to improve. Pain! Fear!

"This is it. Moment of choice. This is how you define yourself. Keep running. Don't stop." Man Up! Character! Strength!

Resignation. Acceptance of the pain.

It's funny how a run can change your whole world. Even if it doesn't last. In that moment, I knew the truth of my predicament. To reach my potential I would have to be willing to man up, dig deep, and embrace the misery - Repeatedly, and maybe for years.

The vague sense of discomfort and unhappiness I was feeling was just the outer manifestation of what I'm calling "The Change Challenge" - the discomfort of being pushed beyond where you thought you had to go.

I thought I had done enough to reach my goal, only to find that running 3:50 requires more hard work on my part. I have decided it's worth it, but I realize that deciding to make changes to improve is like walking into the unknown, you have to accept the lack of control that goes with it. It takes courage.

If change were the easiest thing to do, then most people would change. But we know they don't. Instead, they stay comfortable. They take the easy road, somehow thinking that since they wish things were better, that, in and of itself, must be noble. It isn't! Taking the difficult road of change in the face of easier roads is noble!

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose Wisely.

[ORN: Obligatory Running Note]: Scheduled for this afternoon: 4 mile Tempo Run. 2 miles warm up and cool down. I put this workout off yesterday due to lingering fatigue. I feel ready to crush it!