I had one of my rare bouts of insomnia Sunday night. Woke up around 1:30am, and didn't get back to sleep until just after 5am. It happens. I seem to have learned how to just shrug it off, and adjust my plans accordingly. (When I was younger, it seemed to cascade into multi-day and multi-week events.)
So, my Monday morning run was scuttled. I slept fine on Monday night, and was at swimming bright and early Tuesday morning. The workout was really tough, especially for me, since it featured a lot of kick, which isn't my forte. I survived, though, so it's all good.
This morning, I turned my alarm off (a partial concession to Monday's insomnia), but vowed to be up early-ish to get a run in. I was up and eating by 6:30, and out the door just after 7am.
It was 10 degrees out, and I wimped out and wore long pants and a long sleeve technical shirt. It started drizzling halfway through the run, so I was glad of being warmly dressed.
I'd love to tell you how awesomely strong I ran, but that wasn't really the case. It felt like I was starting running all over again, which, considering my summer mileage, might not be that far off. I'm trying to be mindful of likely having better cardio than legs at the moment, so I'm not pushing the pace too much, for fear of injury. Still, it was hard. It wasn't long ago that I would have considered that pace rather slow.
It kinda got me thinking about how dedicated my training was last winter, and how much the mileage really helped. I want to get back to that mileage, and I think I'm on the road to rebuilding it now.
I stumbled onto Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes' webiste and journal today. Reading some of what she has written gave me a huge burst of inspiration. Hughes is an amazing athlete, and her gold medal in the 5k in Torino was one of the most inspiring and outright amazing things I've seen in my life. Her journal give some insight into where her toughness comes from. She describes hard exertion, not done once in a while, but over and over again until it brings pain, nausea, and exhaustion.
Most of us, myself included, will never be olympians. We lack the talent for it. The point, though, is that talent alone does not bring the olympics. Hughes may very well know pain and suffering as well as any athlete on the planet. Her ability and willingness to push herself hard, to enter into the realm of pain, is independant of her talent. We mortals like those in the RBF are just as capable of making huge demands from ourselves. We, too, can push ourselves hard, accepting pain in the name of something greater.
I'm not about to turn masochist, but I always tacitly assumed that elite, talented athletes worked by different rules than the rest of us. They had more time and talent to persue their goals. There was basically no common ground for comparison.
Something in Ms. Hughes' writings bridged the gap, and got me thinking. I've trained pretty hard, 5 days a week hard, for a while. Have I ever really pushed myself in training? Have I built and sustained the kind of base that I would need to achieve the kinds of PBs that I know I'm capable of? Have I accepted the possibility of running hard, exhausting myself, on a weekly basis, for months and months on end?
When will I get around to doing it? It's like running. I always meant to run, but it took a kick in the butt to actually get around to starting running. You can waste your whole life waiting for the right moment.
I may have just caught a glimpse of something I want.