As I come back from this injury and start training again, I'm trying to be realistic, both in terms of 1) not pushing my body so hard so soon that I get re-injured and 2) remembering that it's now a good six months since I was in reasonably good shape. This attitude is a little bit at odds with my usual impulse to DO ALL THE WORKOUTS and MAKE ALL THE PACES, no matter what, no excuses, so it seemed like a good time to remind myself of the many virtues of quitting.
Quick recap: Never quitting sounds really good in theory, but think about it. What if you never quit anything? Never quit a relationship you'd outgrown? A job that wasn't working? A bad habit? A club that or hobby that's become more of a chore than a good time? An argument where you realize you're wrong? Something that seemed like a good idea at the time but now is clearly really, really not?
Quitting gets a bad rap, but in truth, it's a key life skill that all adults should master. To go all metaphorical on you, quitting is like weeding the garden. It keeps the soil fresh and tilled and creates room for things that are working to grow and blossom as well as space for fresh, new things to take root. The impulse to quit can also serve as a safety valve to keep us from doing ourselves serious harm.
Of course, sticking with things and seeing commitments through is an equally important skill; the wisdom (as it seems to be with many things) is in learning to tell the difference. Sticking with something because it just has to get done or you gave your word or because it'll be worth it in the end is one thing; refusing to quit things purely on principle is just stupid. Your time and resources are worth more than that!
My workout was supposed to be five mile repeats at 7:25 pace with 1:30 jogs in between. Now, first off, it does not make me feel great to see that pace on my schedule for mile repeats, but such is life when your ass has been parked on the elliptical for the better part of six months. Second, doing the whole workout including a warm-up and cool-down would have been a 9-10 mile run, and given that my longest run so far has only been 8 miles, I wasn't crazy enough to attempt the whole thing anyway. But I thought, "Eh, I'll do three and then do two more 7:25s on the elliptical at the same effort level." Given that I ran a sub-22 5K in December when I wasn't training and now I've had about four weeks of some training, you really wouldn't think (or at least I did not think) that 7:25s would be all that big of a deal. Like, effort required, yes, but not like hard hard.
Har har har.
You guys. 'Humbling' doesn't even begin to cover it.
I gave myself some time to get up to speed & when I thought, "This feels about right," glanced at my watch. And then I kind of wanted to cry when it said 8:30.
Sigh. Fine, I thought, and revved the engines a little more.
Now I did run three mile repeats at more or less the right pace (7:21, 7:26, 7:22), but finishing every single one of them felt like the end of a 5K, and that was with stopping at red lights. (Side note: I may have uttered a "Dear sweet lord Jesus, thank you" at every one.) It was not pretty. More than once I wanted to shout to the universe, "I RAN THREE BACK-TO-BACK 7:00ISH MILES IN DECEMBER UNTRAINED, WHAT THE HELL!"
There were two interesting things worth noting.
1) Once I started running fast, I had a very hard time getting my heart rate up. At that pace it should be *at least* 180 and it took almost the entire first mile--during which I felt like I was dying--to get above 165. (Normally for me 165 = running casually up a steepish hill.) Even in the last one, I only *averaged* 180. That is really, really weird.
2) I did forget that the first mile was uphill, so 7:21 when I was shooting for 7:25 really was probably WAY too fast. Like maybe that mile should have been closer to 7:40ish.
At this point I was so. So. Done. Maybe a little part of me had been thinking, "Eh, if I do 3 and they go pretty well, *maybe* I'll just go ahead and knock off the last two so I can say I did the whole workout." But that was so not happening, both because I felt half dead and also because I could feel how hard running even just that much faster had been on my poor legs which are NOT used to this right now. It just seemed like the worst idea ever. And, to be honest, I'm not sure even just doing two more time/effort wise on the elliptical would have been smart, having just experienced what that effort level apparently was today.
So, I quit. I still logged 7.3 miles for the day and logged my first successful speed workout since July (if you don't count the December 5K), and honestly, that really did feel like enough for where I am right now. I do not feel bad about it.