The workout that almost wasn’t

Yesterday’s Plan A was to leave work “early” i.e. 6:15pm and run my coach’s assigned tempo run by myself, finishing in time for a reasonable dinner hour with the man-friend.

At 6:45pm, I was just leaving the office, so I moved on the Plan B – drop my stuff off at the gym and meet the CPTC crew in Central Park for the tempo. Workouts are always easier with company. Unfortunately, when I got to the gym I was planning on using…I realized it was closed for construction. Harumph! At this point it was already close to 7pm and there was no way I was going to be able to get to another gym location, change, and run the 1 mile+ to the meeting spot.

So I moved on to Plan C – I headed to a gym location near Times Square and decided to do the workout solo on the treadmill. Treadmill running sucks, but running and weaving through the crowds of Times Square is even worse. Trust me.

I recently switched gyms to save some $$ and my new spot is a lot less cushy than Equinox. I wasted about 10 minutes hopping on and off different treadmill trying to find one that had a working TV. No dice. At this point I was pretty frustrated. I had missed the workout with my team, I was behind schedule, and wasn’t looking forward to running for an hour + on the ‘mill without TV or music.  I thought about giving up. I sometimes have an all or nothing attitude – if a run or a workout or a race isn’t going to go well, why even bother? Wouldn’t just be easier to bag the workout and drink a beer? Yes, yes it would.

But then I thought – there will always be reasons for NOT sticking to a training plan. It’s raining, I had to work late, I’m tired, I forgot my socks, etc. But if something is important to you, you’ve got to find a reason that trumps everything else. A reason that will silence all of the other voices that tell you to sleep in, that you don’t have time for a run.

I somehow managed to pump myself up, so instead of bailing on the tempo, I channeled my frustration and turned it into a pretty good workout.

1 mile warm-up

3 miles @ marathon pace (7:41, 7:35, 7:30)

3 miles @ half-marathon pace (7:05, 6:58, 6:55)

2 mile cool-down

9 miles total (and about 3 gallons of sweat)

Post-workout, I took a quick shower and headed into Brooklyn to meet the man-friend for a late dinner. Unfortunately, there were some subway delays. At 9:30pm, I was still on the C train and starving. Like, almost ready to bite my arm off hungry. Luckily, a co-worker had given me a bushel of homegrown tomatoes. I ate one (unwashed) and it held me over until I arrived here –

Habana Outpost, I’m pretty much obsessed.

Ok, so I was here at 10pm last night and obviously these photos are of the daytime (photo source), but you get the idea. Habana Outpost is a super cute environmentally sustainable restaurant/bar in my ‘hood. Check the solar panels on the roof! They serve a good mix of Cuban and Mexican food and the beer is local and cheap! $2.75 for 12oz of Sixpoint or Kelso Brewery beer. I definitely recommend this place – even if you don’t live in Brooklyn!

A very, very hungry Megan devoured Mexican corn on the cob (mmm covered in lime and cotija cheese) and a two tacos (catfish and roasted vegetables). Washed down with a Kelso nut brown lager, which after running 9 miles, made me a little tipsy. Ah well, the NY Times says beer is a good recovery drink, so it’s all cool. Right?….Right?

This blog post is about running obviously, but I think the idea of pushing past the excuses and remembering your reasons for doing whatever you do is transferable. Whether it being eating healthier, studying for the LSATs, training for an Ironman – whatever – there will always be obstacles. And it probably won’t be easy. But most worthwhile things aren’t easy. The sacrifice and hard work is what makes it that much more meaningful. I sometimes complain about painful track workouts. Early morning runs. Expensive race entry fees. Skipped happy hours. Sore knees. Becoming a better runner takes sacrifice for sure, but the enjoyment I get out of a PR or the sense of accomplishment from a sweaty tempo cancels out all those times when I feel like giving in.

As I began writing this blog post, I wasn’t sure what my intention was. To provide inspiration? Well, that seems a little pretentious. To complain about the events leading up to my workout? Probably. Mostly, I wanted to convey the idea that even if you really want something, even if you enjoy what you’re doing, it’s still going to be difficult sometimes. So tell the excuses to hush and go out there and do it anyway.

  • So true!! My favorite mantra for race training is “Do, or do not. There is no try.” (Yoda – haha) Is so frustrating when you’re ready for your workout mentally when there are so many obstacles in the way. Good for you for mustering through it.
    I love mexican food!!! $2.75 beer? Woah.

  • Way to go getting in a good workout despite the obstacles. Everything is not easy along the way but I think also that is what makes things so much more satisfying when they go well and makes a PR that much more sweet.

  • Nice workout…especially for a treadmill run! Have a great weekend!

  • thatta girl. do your run and eat some awesome food, too. been wanting to go to habana outpost for awhile! looks yum.

    i totally hate experiences like that as you described with your gym. they make me super cranky. then i try to look at it in perspective and realize it’s just another silly #whitegirlproblem.

  • Anonymous

    i was in a serious fit of rage re: the gym last night. the towels don’t cover my butt! none of the TVs work! there are no fancy shampoo products in the locker room!

    but then i was like, whoa whoa Megan, stop being a brat. in the grand scheme of things, not having a working TV in front of my treadmill is very petty compared to what so many people go through everyday (hunger, homelessness, illness). ah, perspective.

  • not sure if you know this (i didn’t when i first started going to nysc) but you have to have headphones plugged in in order for the tvs to work! i hate when i leave them at home…so frustrating! and the towels are TEENY! 

  • Tawnee

    food looks GOOD!

  • Jul

    Megan, just wanted to say thanks for such a thoughtful post.  Filing this away for the days motivation to finish (or even start) comes harder than most — consider me inspired.  

  • Beer is a good recovery drink? What?? how have I not heard this before? Turns out my instincts were right all along. 😉

  • Anonymous

    I like this post. You inspire me anyways, even if you don’t intend to 🙂 9 miles on the mill is baller, I don’t think I could hang.

    also, I LOVE Mexican corn and all of the deliciousness on top of it!

  • Grace @ Balancing Me

    Oh boy. I definitely give into those voices in my head. It’s so easy to bag the workout, and I wish I had a little more willpower to always hang tough like you superstars! Actually, sometimes it helps just to think that my blogger buddies are out there sweating it out somewhere.

    Habana Outpost — agree on the corn. I always, always get the corn there and it makes me a happy girl!

  • I hope I can be as flexible as you in my training. I probably would’ve thrown up my arms and screamed at the sky “fine, the universe hates me today! I’m getting ice cream and running tomorrow!”

    Great job. 9 miles on the treadmill. That’s baller!

  • Great post. Thanks for the reminder that even though things might not go exactly as planned, we just need to go with the flow. Glad you were able to get your workout in and enjoy dinner. I’ve been to Habana Outpost one, it was great! That corn on the cob – delish!

  • Lili Clare

    I actually took a practice LSAT yesterday, after reading this post! So, thanks for the kick in the pants.

  • As you said, nice work on getting in the workout despite a few snags in your plans! I also have an all-or-nothing mindset at times and like things to be as controlled as possible, especially when it comes to workouts and races. There are always opportunities to make excuses, for anything in life, and it’s key to remain flexible and get in the effort and work you can on that given day. Always try to keep in the back of my mind, “well, it’s better than nothing”.

    Haha, NYSC definitely isn’t as cushy as Equinox (womp womp), and I don’t understand why the towels are so small, either!!! Some are nicer than others, the one on 94th/Bway was just newly renovated and feels really clean. Others…not so much. But, I basically just use it as a locker room, to shower, and the rare occasions when I feel like lifting. They have Woodway treadmills, too, which I discovered this winter…I remember you mentioning you like them!

  • Such a good post! I’m also an all-or-nothing type of person, especially when it comes to running. It’s so silly how easy it is for me to think that I either do the full (perfect) workout or nothing. I really have to talk myself into thinking that even doing a modified workout is better than bagging the entire thing altogether.

    Anyway, I love that you talked about this. There are always excuses, foiled plans, and  times when life seems to get in the way enough to warrant skipping a workout. But like you said, if it’s really important to you, then you’re going to have to make sacrifices. There have been definitely times when I’ve let those excuses get in the way of a workout (which I’m not so proud of). But the times when I work around it and get it done anyway are always the times I’m most proud of…and I think the times that ultimately will make me a better athlete.

  • Page

    DANG! No music OR TV on the treadmill and you still busted that out? Super impressive. And you’re right, excuses are plentiful but how bad do you really want it? Have a great week!

  • bethany ng

    great post! i found it very inspiring and am going to send it over to a friend who just started running.

  • Good for you!  You’re absolutely right — we ALWAYS find a way to make time for the things that we really value.  I saw a great poster in a running store once: “Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”  If it’s really important, we find a way to get it done.