I handle my life best by keeping my expectations moderate, at least my expectations for myself. I have a life-long narrative that revolves around me being average at best when it comes to athletic endeavors. On the other hand, I love trying to be an athlete. This streak really feeds into my view of myself as an athlete. I know how to commit. I know how to work hard. I know that I may never be as fast as I'd like to be, but I am (mostly) satisfied to be moving. Still, there are moments when I am disappointed by my progress.
As September started, I had seen my three-mile times slow down by at least 30 seconds per mile. I was having trouble breaking 29 minutes. I was bummed but not surprised, since the school year brings a whole new level of fatigue to my life, and because I have taken on an usual number of new responsibilities this year. I was even more bummed, though, when I had a six-day streak of one-milers in the middle of the month. Overwhelming stacks of papers, exhaustion, and general busyness led to this unwanted streak. I was disappointed in myself, and I was also convinced that this would result in a further decline in my speed.
In the midst of my disappointment, I kept reminding myself (and the voice in my head often sounds like my friend Fitz): I'm running every day. I ran 30 more days in September 2013 than I ran in September 2012. In fact, I ran more days in September 2013 than all of the September runs put together for the last decade. 30 more days. So disappointment--go away.
This September story has a surprising and most satisfying end. At the end of that six-day streak of one-milers, I went out to run a three. It was a lovely, cool, rainy evening, but I had no idea what was about to happen. I ran the fastest three miles of the year. As it turns out, in the last two weeks of September, I ran three three-milers under 28 minutes (fast for me), and broke my 2013 three-mile record twice (27:22).
I don't know what October will bring, but I am still loving this streak, and I'll keep running into 50, by the grace of God.