Today I ran positive splits, but it was a good thing. Generally when people talk about negatives in running, they are talking about negative splits. For those new to the sport, negative splits refer to running the second half of a training run or race faster than the first. This is generally believed to be a much better way to run than to run a positive split (running slower for the second half of a run or race).
My positive split had nothing to do with pace. Well, it kind of did, but not in the way you’d usually think. My run started negative. Very negative. And that negativity began the day before.
I was on my way to Savannah when I heard a loud noise coming from my car. I got in my car and called AAA. I promise you I got the man who won the rudest customer service award. As my anxiety rose from sitting on the side of the highway, my phone dropped the call. Not only did it drop the call, it powered off. After many minutes of waiting for it to come back on, I attempted to pry the case off and remove the battery to re-boot it. A few ragged fingernails later, the phone was back on. I called AAA and this time I got a reasonably concerned person.
When the tow truck arrived, the mechanic discovered that I had a shredded tire. On the way to the shop, I looked at my phone and noticed that all of my contacts were gone. Every single one of them. And, to top it all off, I missed my 2 p.m. class. I am sure my students were happy. At least I hope they were.
I went straight to yoga, but sometime during the night that wonderful Zen feeling left my body and negativity surrounded me. I did not sleep well and decided that I was not going to run. I rationalized that after the day I had, I deserved a rest day. I decided that I since I went to the 7:15 p.m. yoga class that running in the morning was too stressful. I also decided that since I would be running 17 miles on Sunday, it really didn’t matter if I ran or not. Many other excuses came out of my mouth. But for some reason I got up and ran anyway.
The negativity just kept coming. This time I told myself that I was running much too slow. That kept playing over and over in my head. It never occurred to me to ask myself the important question “Too slow for whom?” Certainly not too slow for the people still in bed or sitting on the couch. Or for the man eating a doughnut while driving past me. Or for the woman sitting on her porch in her wheelchair. Or for those who saw me and thought to themselves ‘I need to be running.”
I wasn’t too slow for the blue heron that watched me and then took off in flight as I got closer. I wasn’t too slow for the turtles in the middle of the pond that seemed to nod in my direction. So again I wonder “Too slow for whom?”
Do I normally run faster? Yes. But I know that every run is different. Some runs are just a bit more awesome than others. Any run I finish is a great run. Isn’t that what I tell everyone? So why couldn’t I say that to myself? Slow miles count. Ugly miles count. Funny miles count. Even miles with negative thoughts count. And the fact I allowed myself to believe that this run is not good enough for me to run the Marine Corps Marathon is CRAZY!
Once this flood of negative thoughts was done flowing, I was able to see some positives. Had I run faster, I may not have seen the blue heron and marveled at his flight. I would have missed the turtles. I would not have heard the lady in the wheelchair say good morning. I would not have watched the sun as it rose and reflected off of the water.
So maybe my run wasn’t a world class performance. I never had one of those anyway. My run today was pure, it was simple, and now it is done. Add another four miles to the history books for me, please. And that is one big positive.
Have you ever had one of those days?