After yesterday's hard interval work, today's scheduled run was a 20/20/20 progression run. This is 20 minutes easy, 20 minutes at marathon race pace (7:15) and the last 20 minutes at Threshold pace (6:45). Tough, especially after yesterday's run and today's temps felt like the low 90's during the run.
After the usual morning emails between the downtown running folks, Carla and Matt wanted to do at least part of the run with me.
We all started together at the 8:30 pace and decided to run to the State Fair grounds - the day before the state fair begins, it always provides some interesting sight seeing. Each year I play a little game - this year I counted 8 mullets along with 12 guys who cut the arms off of their newer cotton T-shirts in the 8 minutes I was running through the state fair grounds.
Matt and Carla were actually running a bit fast at the beginning for me. Matt wanted to keep the steady pace, and Carla wanted to get in a few miles at a faster tempo - 7:15 to 7:30. After the first 20 minutes, Carla and I were off - Carla did a great job and we hit the first mile right at 7:15 pace. After that she maintained her tempo pace between 7:15 and 7:30 and I continued on around a 7:13 pace. After the 20 minutes, I was wiped - it was hot and I thought - really, will the next 20 minutes really matter in my training???? (um...I think asked myself a similar question yesterday???)
It does. I'm currently reading Lou Holtz's autobiography Wins, Losses, and Lessons. There are many parts of the book I really like, and as I'm reading the book, now have a better understanding just how wise Coach Holtz is. In it, he reiterates to his coaching staff and players to expect nothing less than doing your best all the time. There is never a moment where anything short of doing your best is good enough. I know, it sounds cliche, it is cliche, but sometimes I need to hear things about 100 times before it sticks.....
I'm not going to change the world by running for 20 minutes at a 6:45 pace. But in the small sense, I think by not doing this, I would not be doing my best. There is no reason to not run hard as my running schedule showed.
I ran hard. My pace ended up being a 6:48 pace for the 20 minutes - just short of the 6:45. I missed it by 3 seconds. As in the book, Lou reminds his players that as long as you did your best and gave it your best, you have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to proud of.
Okay, so at the end of the run, I finished up and started to walk for the cool down. Carla came in a couple minutes behind me and did the same thing. We were walking back toward our meeting place downtown, and then Matt zips by us still running and not stopping - still at his 8:15 to 8:30 pace.
I'm not saying Matt represents the tortoise and I'm the hare, but Matt's nice and steady pace made him look quite a bit better than me as I was still gasping for air. Aw well, I knew I gave it my best. Never give up. Do your best - and most importantly - do not become a statistic in the mullet or armless t-shirt counting game.