Embracing the Short Stuff

The marathon is by far my favorite distance. Even after the first three marathons I ran, where the last six to eight miles were an utter mess, I loved the marathon. So in February, when I ran smart and strong at the Phoenix Marathon for a big PR, I became even more obsessed with the distance! I came home fired up to train for and run my next 26.2. The bad news? It’s not until December!

So, between now and the fall when marathon training begins, my calendar is sprinkled with shorter races. Instead of a long run with marathon paced miles, I am running fartleks and hill repeats. Last week’s fartlek looked easy on paper- run one, two and three minute intervals hard, with one minute of easy running between each interval. Repeat three times. I ran with my teammate Ashley, who is much faster than me, and my coach, Greg who was running easy that day. Side note: Greg’s easy pace is somewhere around my 10k pace. He is a great runner.

After the first one minute interval, I’m thinking “I got this. Greg is here. I’m going to work hard to show him how much strong I am and how hard I can work.” By the end of the two minute hard interval, I’m thinking, “Okay that was tough, but I think I can do this?” After the three minute interval, my mind has switched to, “This is so grueling, how can I possibly do two more sets?”

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Jaime Musgrave (author) and coach Greg Mitchell

During the second set, my coach taught me a lesson without any words. On the two and three minute intervals, with 45-60 seconds to go, he would catch up to me, and then pull just a little ahead of me. A silent challenge to pick it up and close the gap that Ashley had created. At first, I thought to myself, “There is no way I can catch up to Ashley, what is he trying to do?” However, my competitive side kicked in and I somehow found it in myself to pick up my speed and close the gap when I already felt I was running as fast as I possibly could. While this workout was far from perfect, I feel really proud of myself for what I was able to run on that second set.

Ashley and I finished up our last set alone, and I can tell you there was no closing the gap without Greg by my side, pushing me silently. So my goal, before I get back to beautiful, wonderful marathon training, is to have the ability to dig deep within myself and close the gap when my coach or teammate isn’t there by my side. I know running with my teammates will play an integral role in helping me achieve this goal. Running short, high intensity distances and workouts hurts. Despite that, I have learned that the regret of not giving my best effort lingers longer than the discomfort in any short race or workout. Leaning into the pain and pushing, no matter how much it hurts, is a beautiful thing. So for me, it’s time to embrace the short stuff!

By Jaime Musgrave | @jaimerunspdx

Jaime will be testing her speed at the TrackTown 5K tomorrow (Saturday, April 27th) in Eugene, OR!

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