This morning I surprised myself with 15.6 miles at a 7:38 pace. A bit shorter than last week (when I ran 20) but a bit faster than last week—averaging 10 second per mile faster.
While the run was faster, it was not necessarily better. And certainly not smarter. Today, I began with an 8:04, then ran 7:29, 7:37, 7:46, 8:13, 7:45, 7:42, 7:35, 7:41, 7:22, 7:28, 7:41, 7:43, 7:10, 7:26, and the final 0.6 in 7:20. All the stability I showed last week just went by the wayside. Started slowly. Sped up more than I thought. Slowed down a little running up University Parkway to get to the JHU lacrosse field area. Slowed down even more as I continued along University where there were no streetlights (much to my surprise) and with the steep uphill to Roland, faster on Roland, okay across Northern and up Charles, okay on Stevenson (including the hills—that was the 7:41), faster down Osler and around onto Towsontown (it helped that another runner showed up and I aimed to pass), okay headed to Bosley, okay on Bosley headed around to York, okay as I made my by up Fairmount and across Joppa, faster headed back down York, then okay in the neighborhood. Times all over the place.
So, as I said, even with a faster pace, not as good a run. Combining this less smart run with yesterday’s slow run, I could certainly add a comment after yesterday…not every run can be the best run—no matter how hard I try.
My past two days demonstrate this clearly for workouts. It is also clear for races. Both back in high school and with my grown up running since 2009, I have found the same thing. As I got started, I did get faster each race for a while. Then, once I approached my capacity, not every race was a personal best.
And, of course, the idea that not every activity can be the best one is true in other areas of life as well. There is no way that every day at work can be better than the last. Some days are up and some days are down. The key is overall growth—a general upward trajectory.
There is no way that every day in marriage will be better than the last. Some days are up and some days are down. The key is a general strengthening of the relationship overall over time.
When I play a musical instrument, there is no way that every song will be better than the last.
It is not the case that every blog entry is better than the last.
If I were a visual artist, not every piece of art work would be better than the last.
In a friendship, not every interaction is necessarily better than the last.
And even in parts of life that focus on improvement or departure from something in the past not every day is necessarily better than the last.
The key for me in all cases is to remember what a friend said to me recently about a process she is going through. She compared it with a marathon. Some good miles. Some bad miles. But you keep pushing toward the finish line. And that is what I do in all parts of my life. Realize there will be some good times and some bad times. But always push for the goal.