I remember the first time I cried because of a workout. It was 33 degrees and sleeting so hard you needed windshield wipers for your eyes. I stood at the startline for the 300, drowning in my rain soaked clothes and my bad attitude. Just an hour before, our meet had been cancelled due to the bad weather, and we’d all cheered. Before our celebration was complete, we’d paused to hear the daily workout projection from a senior who often seemed to know the workout even before the coaches did. “Not a chance he has us run in this,” she’d said, “It’d just be unhealthy.”
Confident, we’d walked out of the locker room with short sleeves and high hopes of a warm, easy run inside. We’d enjoyed about two minutes of our wishful thinking before we were sent back into the locker room where we left our shorts and optimism behind. We waved the warm school goodbye and walked reluctantly towards a workout with so many 300s I’ve repressed the exact number from my memory.
The air was so cold it was hard to breathe. Half-way through the workout everything was frozen but my legs, which burned. Our coach’s hand went down signaling the start of yet another 300. I took off, pouring out everything I had, including my negative attitude. I heard my split as I crossed the finish line. Slow. Again. I couldn’t breathe. I collapsed in a puddle, daring it to try to get me more wet and miserable than I already was. Today was supposed to be easy, chanted the chorus in my head as my throat tightened and I fought back angry tears. It was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be easy.