The Difference

Hey, two days in a row! That’s a new record as of late…

I just felt the need to make a somewhat motivational post after my workout last night. I’d found a group track workout on the Memphis Runners Group Run list, and figured that it’d serve as a good “intensity day” for my training program.

I started my morning off with a nice jiujitsu training session at UFK. My nose is just now feeling normal after spectacularly losing my first MMA fight back in July, so I haven’t been doing any sparring or hard training where punches to the face are the norm. Instead, I’ve been hitting pads for conditioning and working on my grappling. John suggested looking for a grappling tournament, and I found this: NAGA Mid-South Championship. Since my MMA birthday is December 1st, I qualify for the “novice” division. It should be a good time. I like grappling, and, after being in an actual fight (no matter how short and one-sided it was), everything else seems pretty easy.

Side Note: I told Thomas Turner that MMA was way harder than mountain biking, and it seemed to slightly peak his interest.

Anyway, that somewhat leads me to yesterday. Yesterday made me highly aware of my own personal training ethic. When I arrived at the track for the group workout, I started warming up, and more people gathered and were out there warming up as well… probably around 20-30 people. It was a healthy crowd of all shapes, sizes, and speeds, everything from a fast triathlete who I’ve raced road against in the past to dudes who looked slightly exhausted from their warm-up. I figured, hey, this is great- I’m sure I’ll find someone close to my speed that can help push me through this, and it’ll be awesome.

The coach arrived a few minutes later, and everyone gathered around. Before he could finish his first sentence about the night’s workout, the sky opened up with a massive downpour and a flash of lightning. He immediately cancelled the workout, and people were astoundingly eager to jet off to the safety of the nearby parking garage. I nearly pleaded for people to wait inside the building for the worst (and yes, potentially dangerous with the lightning) part of the storm to pass, but they were dissipating like grains of sugar.

Frustrated, I had the coach tell me the workout before he walked off. With that in mind, I grabbed my water bottle and ran off to wait the lightning out in the safety of the Fieldhouse. However, in the time it took me to trot from one end of the track to the other, the rain had slacked off to just “steady,” and the lightning and wind had passed. So, no waiting was necessary. I started in to the workout- 400m x 2, then 800m, repeated 4 times (at least, I think that’s what he’d told me… it was kinda loud). It was raining pretty hard for a while, but eventually slackened to a drizzle before stopping altogether.

While I was flogging myself, two other people “appeared” on the track. First, a Marine from the nearby ROTC building. He was jogging laps while holding what looked to be a weighted ammunition box. Then, another runner… I don’t know if he was a straggler from the group like myself, but he was totally killing a speed workout similar to mine. It was slightly surreal. The three of us, giving the finger to the weather, pushing our own limits of comfort and physical ability. We never talked, though we occasionally exchanged small nods of respect.

I’m not going to fault the mass of people who left when the rain started. By the end of the four sets, I was soaked head to toe, and my hands had lost enough circulation that I could barely push the “lap” button on my watch at the end of each interval. That’s not for everyone. But, I’m here to say, when you find yourself coming up short in a competition, it’s pushing through workouts like those that are the likely crux that you’ve yet to climb. The person beating you probably isn’t turned away by rain, cold, or other unperfect conditions. It’s both physical and mental resistance to attrition that you only get by challenging yourself to take on anything. The guys out there running with me probably agree.

2 thoughts on “The Difference

  1. I’m going to use MMA to fuel the rumor mill since Thomas decided to not show up (and therefore dominate) every GACX race this season.

    “I heard he’s teaching his beard how to choke a dude out.”

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