Finding a motivational lesson from my experience today is not going to be easy. I swam my 1,500 time trial this morning. It was my fourth time trial at this distance and I was 35 seconds slower than last month. I swam it in 31:40 or 2:06 per 100 meters. I used flip turns the first half and could feel the strain on my breathing so I switched to pushing off the wall. I did not track my time in the two halves to compare. I could use this as an excuse for the slower time. I didn’t swim as much as I usually do while I was on vacation. I could blame it on lack of training. I had a big emotional distraction on my mind as I swam and could blame it on not being focused. I could turn it around and pep talk myself – it was my second fastest time, or look how far I have come since I started training so hard, or despite all that was bothering me I did well. Is it helping me feel any better? Nope.
A friend of mine is new to running 5K races. She races two or three a month. I really enjoy watching her take to a sport that is so dear to me. Since this is the early stages of her running life, she started out improving on her race times every race. Now she is in the two steps forward one step back phase. Not every race is a personal best. When I saw her this morning and told her about my time trial she quoted what I have told her back to me “You can’t always be better every time.” Ouch. It is so much easier to encourage others and truly accept them as is. I have never judge her race performance as anything other than great. She is doing it and determined to get faster. Applying that same philosophy to myself is difficult. Nearly impossible today. I expected more of myself. Something like this will not discourage me from training hard. A few days from now it just may be my motivation to work harder. But for today I would much rather curl up in bed and hide. Since I have to work, I will settle for lifting weights later with music turned up loudly on my earbuds.
Not every day will be as sunny on the inside as today is on the outside. Not every race or time trial will be a record time. Not every relationship will develop as hoped. Sometimes those days converge on the same day and it really stinks. But it doesn’t happen this way every time. Setting high expectations invariably will lead to a miss – in training, work and relationships. So I had a bad day. Is there something good in today anyway? Of course. And as my training partner just told me, I just have to get through today. Tomorrow I can be concerned about my training and what else that happens in that day. But for now, just get through today.