On my last few runs, I’ve been wondering about what keeps us honest—both as athletes and as people. I mean, what makes us stick to a workout when no one is watching us or keeping score. On Sunday, for example, my half-marathon training plan said to run 14 miles. It was cold and grey out, and snow flurries (a Portland rarity!) set in at about mile 6. I was doing a loop from our house—down to the Willamette River, south along the westside of the river to the Sellwood Bridge, then north along the east bank and home. The wind pushed at me as I chugged past bridge after bridge. I could have headed across several of them and cut my loop short but, no, the schedule called for 14 miles, so I was doing 14. (Actually, 14.3….)
Then today—a near-freezing, blustery, overcast day—the plan dictated a long track workout. Two miles at half-marathon pace, 2 x 1 mile at 10k pace, then 2 x 800 at 5k pace. With recovery laps and the to-and-from the track added in, it was more than seven miles. Like so many other days, I had the track all to myself. Certainly there was no one watching me, and there was no one at home to question if I got home early. Yet I stayed true to the intervals as they were laid out. I remembered what a friend’s hockey coach used to tell him: “If you cut corners in practice, you cut corners in a game. And if you cut corners in a game, you cut corners in life.”
And I thought about my mother, who abhors lying. One of only two times I got punished (what can I say—I was a perfect, people-pleasing child!) was in 7th grade for lying. It was a harmless lie, yet my usually calm mother was irate. I was grounded for a week. My husband, Jack, and I are very big on teaching almost-6-year-old Phoebe the importance of being honest. It’s a life lesson that serves a girl well wherever the road may lead.