What Gets You to and Through the Line?

A Beautiful Work In Progress, Chapters 1 - 4

Posted Tuesday, November 4, 2021

"Let's see how far we've come."

At least that's what I was telling myself as I listened to some Matchbox 20 in the car to practice last Saturday. I had a workout on the track at Cheney Stadium of 2 miles at tempo pace, 8 minutes rest, 400, 300, 200 at 800m race pace with 4 minutes rest between each rep. I'd seen the workout show up on my calendar nearly a month ahead of time and was very nervous for it. For those of you who don't know, I'm an 800m runner, and a speed-based one at that. To this point in my career, I'd always approached the 800m as a 400m runner going up in distance and my training reflected that. I hadn't even ever run a full mile as part of a workout at practice until, you guessed it, last week. I'd raced a 2 mile once in high school and ran 11:30; today Coach Andrew was asking us to run 10:40. Nonetheless, as I laced up my flats on this cool, cloudy day I decided to focus on the reasons that I could handle this workout.

For me, this always starts with gratefulness. I've been blessed with an ability to run and a talent for middle distance running that I don't take for granted. I'm thankful for the opportunity to go out there and get better each day and I will not waste it. Then I trust my training. Coach wouldn't have put this workout on the schedule if he didn't believe that I'd at least be able to come close to doing it by now (right?). Lastly, as I approached the starting line, I looked around at my teammates from marathoners down to 800m runners like myself all equally dialed in for this 2-mile rep and was reminded that we're in this together. I don't want to let them down and I don't have to do this alone.

Ultimately, we made it through that 2-mile rep, coming through slightly under the prescribed pace and it was the same principles that got me to the line that ultimately got me through the line at the end of the workout. We closed the final three reps in 59, 45, and 29 for the last 200m.

While Mirna Valerio and I compete in vastly different distances and have different goals, one of the things I found most interesting is that many of the things that motivate us and get us through our respective events are similar. In discussing her experience at the Double Tap 50k and Javelina Jundred 100k through these first few chapters, she highlights these things. She talks about her "turtle sisters" who encourage her to keep going and finish and the support she receives from her friends on social media urging her forward as well. She discusses feeling fortunate to have a body that is capable of running and the silent promise she made to family members who have mobility issues to endure through these races for them. She mentions her desire to dig deep and discover the most profound parts of herself. No matter what distance we run, how we ended up here, or what our goals are, I love that many of us can relate to each other through the reasons we run.

Discussion Questions:
1) What gets you to and through the finish line of a workout or race?
2) Which aspects of the ways that Mirna Valerio finds motivation to get through her incredibly long races resonate with you the most? Which can you apply to your racing?

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