When it comes to running, there are ‘runs’, and there are ‘workouts’. The former are everyday jaunts of varying distance and effort; the latter are the carefully scheduled and calculated experiments in discomfort that one needs to learn not to over-think or over-anticipate. The technical terms used: “Lactate Threshold” and “Anaerobic Threshold” speak to the fact that all of these trials take you to the limits of your current fitness in order to expand those boundaries. Though they are shorter, they always seem to loom large in one’s mind and be a kind of burden on one’s back. So it is a discipline to not only head out the door and do the thing, but to not dread or avoid or resist the pain found therein. This, we learn over time, is a large part of their benefit. That, and the strength and endurance that becomes evident months later.
I haven’t done any of these kinds of workouts in preparation for tomorrow’s Fun Run. With such a short training window, they wouldn’t help me, and would only serve as a reminder of just how out of condition I truly am. But the whole experience of preparing and anticipating tomorrow seems a bit like a kind of wholistic meta-workout.
I’m thinking about Will more than I’m accustomed, and I’m obsessing on his cardiac limitations while I stagger through my runs, and I’m trying not to flinch or cringe as I move towards tomorrow morning, where I imagine I will see a bunch of pitiful hangdog faces and witness a few sad memorials to children who have succumbed to cardiac anomalies. Which will remind me of my own self-pity and my own desperate memorials to my son. But I need to admit my weakness; to display it, even. I need to learn to share my own grief, and to share in the grief of others. Though it is not easy, this kind of workout will be good for me. Not today, or tomorrow, or next week. But someday, I hope.