Back in October, I celebrated my birthday.
(In case you're wondering, 43's never looked so good).
My birthday present from Mr. Tea was/is that he is going to run a half marathon with me in May 2011.
This will be his first half marathon. For those of you who know Mr. Tea, he doesn't really enjoy running. So, this is a pretty big deal.
Yesterday, Jan 1st was day #1 of his training. The first 8 weeks of his "plan" is more of a time to get him used to being on his feet, moving and getting used to running in spurts.
Even though the run was 20-25 minutes long, I knew he would be uncomfortable. The plan calls for 5 min warm up walk followed by 1 min run, 90 seconds walk until he hits 20-25 minutes.
So yea, I knew this would make him uncomfortable. In the past, Mr. Tea would take off like a wild banshee, run hard, run too far and end up in pain on day 2 which would cause him to quit running altogether.
Yesterday he head down to the basement to do his run. I hear the buttons beeping on the treadmill. I hear the belt starting to move. I hear his breathing getting heavy, then labored.
I wanted to yell down and ask how he was doing, but this is something he has to do by himself.
At 25 minutes, I decide to check on him. I ask "How did it go?"
Mr. Tea: It was hard. It was only 25 minutes, but it was so hard. Way harder than I thought it would be.
Tea (Tough Love, dose #1): Yea, running is hard. No matter how fast you get, no matter how far you go, it doesn't get easier.
Mr. Tea: Everything hurts. My back hurts. My legs hurt.
Tea (Tough Love, dose #2): Look, it IS hard. It'll hurt, but it's not going to kill you. You only have to do it 3 days a week. It doesn't have to be pretty. JUST.GET.THROUGH.IT.
Mr. Tea: Wow, what's up with the tough love?
Tea: Look, you have a HUGE disadvantage or ADVANTAGE depending on how you look at it. I'm an athlete. You didn't wake up this morning and make a resolution to start running while I sit back and feel bad for you and say "Oh poor baby, just skip your run today, start tomorrow, you're all sweaty".
You're not going through anything different than any other athlete. When you're busting your ass and feeling uncomfortable.....I AM TOO. It's not easier for me to get up every day and run or bike or strength train. I'm not superhuman. Every time you want to quit your run, you're making your half marathon THAT.MUCH.HARDER.
And, I will have no qualms about leaving you in the dust on race day if I don't think you took your training seriously. I have no desire to run a 4 hour half marathon with someone who doesn't care. On the other hand, I will be thrilled to run a 4 hour half marathon with someone who really wants it.
Just remember: You aren't doing this for me. You're doing this for you.
That my friends was Day #1. I have no doubt that it will be an emotional roller coaster. It's never easy to change behavior. We aren't born with mental toughness. It's something we learn. We can choose to quit. We can choose to keep going. The choice is that simple. The more we choose to keep going, the tougher we get. Toughness isn't something we're born with. It's a decision we make, every.day.