This little pearl of wisdom is a favorite of my AP English teacher, Mr. Trimmer, from Junior and Senior year of high school. Aside from torturing us with Annie Dillard and making everyone cry at least once over the two years, he brought us together as a group, appreciated us, turned us into adults, and taught us how to think. I attribute all my success in life to this man. Well, pretty much.
What he means is, you should always be dreamin’ and you should always believe in yourself. In the context of writing, he meant that we were going to have these fantastic ideas that we probably couldn’t execute flawlessly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Reach for it. You might not get it but you’ll probably come close, and close is better than some half-assed version that you decided to settle for because you didn’t believe.
This mentality applies everywhere, including running. Recently, I had the pleasure of dragging my dad to the track in town for a speed workout. The plan was this: 15 minute warm up, 6×3 minutes fast, with 3 minutes of a slooowwww jog in between, 15 minute cool down. My goal paces were REALLY ambitious: I was shootin for a 5:55/6 minute pace for the intervals. That is speeeeedy. And I knew it. But I also knew that I’d done a workout that was pretty similar (1000s at 3x10k, 2x5k, 1x1mile pace) that I ended up going harder than I should have, which was basically this workout except a little harder. True, I only ran that fast because I had a group pushing me. True, the workout whooooped my ass. But still, I’d done it. So although 5:55 freaked me out a little, I had confidence.
We’ll just say that my reach exceeded my grasp. You know what I was supposed to do, and here is what I actually did:
The first interval is good, but all the following ones are 7-23(wtf Lauren) seconds off goal pace. So I guess my reach was a tiny bit farther than I could handle under the given circumstances. Maybe with the motivation of a group, maybe with a few more miles under my belt, this workout would have been more successful. But you know what? It definitely made me stronger. I am a better runner for having pushed myself, even if I couldn’t push as hard as I had hoped. It was certainly painful, which is what I was looking for, and at the end of the day I was happy.