Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Click, Click, Bust

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve false-started this post. Every season I think I should write about the “Click,” the moment when things come together, when that hill that left you huffing and puffing no longer feels significant, when that double digit run feels normal, when the pace you dreamed of hitting becomes the pace you did just hit.

But every time I think I’m close (Yes! This is it! Things have clicked!), I have a workout that feels like a giant step backwards. Welp, guess I’m not there yet. Still out of shape. So I delay writing about it. I keep waiting for the real Click, as if I can only be sure I’ve made it when every single workout goes perfectly.

Since RnR DC, I’ve had a couple great track workouts and some pretty moderately okay tempo runs. (Given my constant struggle with tempo runs, “moderately okay” counts in the success column.) Things were definitely clicking.

Then, a few weeks ago, I attempted the season’s first marathon pace workout. In a word, it was terrible. In a few more words, it was discouraging and demoralizing, the kind of run that makes you wonder why the heck you do this to yourself. The kind that makes you doubt all the other good workouts. I guess I haven’t made any progress.

Click, click… bust.

But this is becoming all too familiar. After a couple of seasons with the same routine, I’ve had an epiphany. The elusive Click never fully comes. There is no one point where training switches from tough, huffing and puffing to wonderful, nail-every-workout bliss. No, even after things start to come together, there will always be bad days. (And historically, my first attempts at marathon pace runs are often disastrous.) But as training progresses, there will be more and more moments when you surprise yourself, when suddenly you are keeping up with the paces that seemed impossible not too long ago. Just because you have a day when those paces again seem ridiculous doesn’t mean all hope is lost. It doesn’t mean you’re back where you started.

Even with my (probably perfectly human) attitude of being more discouraged by the bad than encouraged by the good, I can’t really deny things are (at least starting to) click. It’s just not in the way I imagined or hoped for, because it never is. But a couple steps forward and one step backwards is still progress.

After years of snapping photos of these guys
on my runs, it's finally time to race by 'em. 
Speaking of progress and moving forward, this weekend is my first official race of the season: on Sunday, I’m popping my Cherry [Blossom]. Shockingly, although the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler is a rite of spring and I’ve lived in this city for six years now, I’ve never run it. I’ve always had some marathon that takes April priority. But this year, I’m in and I’m excited to see how I’ll do. The blossoms are beginning to come out, hopefully the PRs will, too. Good luck to all those racing!

Dream big,


  1. You'll get there. You always do.
    There are about ten Loopsters doing Cherry Blossom (including me) if you want to meet up. Good luck!

  2. Yes, I'd love to meet up, if possible. Where and when?

  3. We have all the details in a Facebook group, if you accept my friend request I can add you.

    Proposed locations for pre- and post-race meetups: Pre-race at the garden/park on Constitution Ave just west of 15th Street. If I remember last year correctly, it should be just across the portapotty/tent area from the start line. Post-race meetup in front of the American History Museum on the Madison Drive side

  4. Have a great race! Malinda has been sick ever since finishing the RnR DC Marathon so hopefully she'll be well enough to enjoy the race and the blossoms on Sunday! :-)

  5. I can totally relate to this. Wanting to feel that click, being discouraged when it doesn't happen in an overwhelming way. But you are right, the fitness comes and the little things add up. I hope you have a GREAT race this weekend at Cherry Blossom!

    1. Thanks, Laura! Looking forward to cheering you on (virtually) at Boston!

  6. I'm late to the party on this but MAN, can I relate. I feel like that every season as I try to claw my way back to fitness after my post-marathon sluggishness. Looks like you are making great gains though - solid sub-6 minute pace at Cherry Blossom!! Great job, Teal!