On Being Perfectly Imperfect

{The title of this post is a direct quote from Jo.}


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I woke up this morning, reached for my phone to look up today's assigned workout in Evernote.

My heart sank. It was 800-meter repeats at the track.

I LOATHE 800-meter repeats at the track. There is nothing - NOTHING - fun about them.

If I had my way I would have pushed the workout off to this evening so that I could spend the day psyching myself up for it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible as I already had evening plans.

I stumbled out of bed to my laptop so that I could program the workout into my Garmin. It took 30 precious minutes to do so, which meant 30 less minutes to get this workout done. My work days now involve 8 am meetings almost every day so I have a narrow window of time to complete morning workouts.

I got to the track when it was pitch dark. This did not help my foul mood.

I started my warm-up mile which did not feel good. I was so stressed about the workout and had worked myself into such a frenzy that my stomach revolted. Thank goodness the bathrooms were unlocked. I took care of business then continued my warm-up. I found a nice rhythm and thought I was doing better until I looked at my Garmin. My heart sank because I thought my pace would have been faster with the effort I felt I had put into it.

I did my dynamic stretches and warm-up drills. No matter how terrible the warm-up mile feels, I always feel better after doing these.

Not today.

I went through three 800-meter repeats and they all sucked. The effort did not match the pace, which also missed the targets.

Angry thoughts and frustrated feelings raged through me...

...I was angry at my stomach for revolting when I’ve been working to hard to heal it. ...I was angry at my coach for giving me this awful workout that he knows I hate and with no forewarning. ...I was angry at the track for being wet. ...I was angry at the walkers at the track for not staying in the same lane and moseying along while I was dying. ...I was angry at my legs for the stupid shin splints, foot pain and calf pull I’ve been dealing with for a week.

With each repeat I ran I kept telling myself that I needed to chill out because not every run is going to be a perfect run. But I am such a Type A person that using that excuse wasn't acceptable. I tried to tell myself to just accept what I could do today. But then I couldn’t because it wasn’t going to be good enough.

It was far from the perfect run that I wanted it to be.

After the third repeat I stopped my Garmin, walked off the track, drove home.

Most of all I was upset at myself for feeling this way.


A few hours later I opened Feedly and read this post by Jo on “stepping back and letting go…” I swear its like she read my mind…

Obviously our “learning experiences” were different, but the takeaway is the same...

I took this workout (and many others) way too seriously, putting too much pressure on myself and took the fun out of it (although I’m not sure there is anything fun in running 800-meter repeats).

Running is supposed to be fun but way more often than not I take the fun out of it. I mean its not my job, I don’t get paid to do this. But I was raised in a household where I was always told to “be the best” (Asian you know…), and when I’m not the best, or at least being *my* best it kills me, and my confidence.

But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean anything. Even if I had hit every target pace I think I still would have felt like it wasn’t good enough. But I suppose that's why we keep trying because we are all..."Perfectly imperfect, but always learning and embracing..."