I feel the need, the need for speed. . .work!


Track Gods love you more than you will know. Woah, woah, woah

I hate speedwork. It’s hard. It hurts. Sometimes, I get headaches afterward that feel like sharp blades plunging into my head. Luckily, they are short lived. Still, they are not pleasant.

Not to mention the pressure I put on myself to run faster than the last 400, 800, mile, whatever distance that day, especially if I’m training for an upcoming race. I was once near tears I had myself so in knots over the anticipation of my speed workout! Did I mention that I don’t like speedwork?

Last Wednesday, though, I craved it. Work – and LIFE – have been a bit stressful in my world as of late to say the least. Last week marked my most stressful work week since I started my postdoc in September, and Wednesday afternoon marked an ugly spike in my stress-o-meter for the week.

I’ll spare you the details of my struggles with getting to know SAS as a data analytic tool. Suffice it to say that I was so frustrated with (my inability to use) it that I had to escape my office to get a breath of fresh air on Wednesday afternoon.

I left everything I love behind in Colorado to pursue career aspirations for a second time when I came to UNC in the fall. A SECOND time. Frustration on this level left me questioning if I had made the right choice for about the gazillionth time since my first move to North Carolina in June 2011.

I sat, playing with my Nalgene bottle donning an Irish Snug Running Club sticker (my FAV running club in Denver that you will absolutely hear all about if you keep reading the blog!), watched traffic go by, and daydreamt of the speed workout awaiting me a few hours later: twelve 400s with my North Carolina running buddy and savior many times over – also named Melissa – training for her second Boston Marathon.

I pictured the track – Illuminated only by distant flood lights and the night sky – at my feet, a furrowed brow and straight mouth of determination on my face, gaining speed with every step and taking each curve at a faster pace than the last. Just that fantasy was enough to con me back into the office to finish the work day.

Enter Melissa, a smile and friendly ‘hello’ as always. When it came down to business, though, this sweet, innocent little Montessori teacher can bring some serious heat in the form of winged feet. She is NO mere mortal, trust me! A two-mile warm up, water bottle refill, and half a Clif bar later, we got to work. We didn’t start off all that fast, but our last timed lap around the track was the fastest we’ve run this year so far according to my Garmin’s number crunching.

VOILA! Just like magic, I am back to my old self and feeling relaxed and better than ever. In just about an hour and a few fast miles, I had done a complete mental 180. The moral of this story? Embrace life’s challenges. They only make you stronger. And, when they get to be too much, don’t ever underestimate the cathartic power of a good run.

6 thoughts on “I feel the need, the need for speed. . .work!

  1. 12 by 400? You are a mad woman.
    Hurts just thinking about it,
    but good on you for embracing/tackling/owning something that you dread.
    There is lesson in that.

  2. Thanks for the note, J! There is very much a lesson in that. I don’t know that I can always say that I choose ‘fight’ over ‘flight,’ but it definitely worked in my favor in this case. Melissa and I did this workout a few Wednesdays in a row. I couldn’t believe my own ears when I heard myself say, “I kinda like that track workout.” WHAT?!

  3. Track workouts are SO much better with a buddy- ultra thankful to you, Melissa, for joining me week after week, even in nasty weather:) Next week, mile repeats!

  4. Of course! Can’t think of any other way I’d rather spend a cold, drizzly, dreary night in NC than flying around a track with you. You may be the closest to the Boston Marathon I ever get!

  5. F#$%@ Yeah girlfriend!
    Running is a metaphor for life. You have climbed many mountains and will climb many more but you will ALWAYS get to the top with your determination and drive.
    You are an amazing friend and runner, I can’t wait to read more of when you are back in CO : )

  6. Wow, thanks, Kat! I have climbed and will climb more mountains – metaphorically and literally. Thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement. You made my day!

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