I came upon all three of these quotes within 36 hours:
“Things don’t have to be perfect or ‘all,’ they just need to be what you want.” – It is pretty.
“When we wait to be perfect, we wait too long.” – Kristin Armstrong
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire
Little pieces of brilliance, all of them, but encountering them in such quick succession felt…overpowering. Overpowering in a really, really cool way.
I saw the last quote soon after I finished an 18-mile run. Immediately, bells of recognition started jingling in my brain. The run had not been perfect: a steady headwind had blown in my face for approximately 8 miles, and I had ducked into a gas station bathroom just as much to thaw out as to tend to personal needs. But honestly? Despite the wind, the run was good. My legs felt okay, and the last few miles were downright enjoyable (okay, so I had the wind at my back at that point. Minor detail.). Who was I to not relish the good just because it wasn’t perfect?
I have less than three weeks until my marathon. At this point, the goal shifts from mileage, intensity, proper recovery, and the like, to simply: Get to the starting line in one piece.
It’s a time to just hold steady and stay the course (clichés, but true). It’s also a time for reflection. Was my training perfect? No. Was it good? Am I happy with it? YES. I hit higher weekly mileage than I ever have before. I did all the long runs, did speed work and some hill work, and I’ve had no [knocking on wood like crazy here!] side-lining injuries. I have incredibly supportive friends and family, a huge blessing.
I’m going to take all of this goodness and run with it. Literally.
There’s more to taper time, though. Taper time means a return to that other kind of life – when there’s actually time and energy to do stuff after running! Dishes, laundry, cleaning, spending time with friends – they get done!
The quotes above carry weight in these areas, too. Getting stuff done is awesome. Re-gaining, or maintaining, diligence when it comes to housework, career, even love life is highly commendable. But do any of these need to be absolutely perfect? How often do we let a metaphorical headwind keep us from enjoying otherwise solidly-good circumstances?
In marathon training, we work hard for months – and then you know what we get to do? We get to enjoy it. We take a break from all that striving, and we get to say to ourselves, “Good has been done here.” The scaling-back in mileage helps our bodies and minds recover in order to achieve optimal performance on race day.
If we didn’t taper, if we didn’t give ourselves a break and take time to look back with satisfaction, look forward with confidence, and look around the present with calm contentment, what would happen?
Give yourself a break today. Enjoy all of the good.
This isn’t Perfect Friday, after all.
Happy Easter, everyone.