I ran one mile today. Thought you’d appreciate it.
I scanned the text from my old teammate Brooke before replying. No way!!! I typed. How did it feel?!
Brooke and I are one year apart age-wise, allowing us to compete three out of four years together in high school. My sophomore year, we made a pact to run every Sunday in season. We concluded each weekend with the same, seven-mile out and back, hitting 40-, 50-mile weeks before age sixteen.
It’s almost comical that those same high school runners — two girls who wouldn’t blink at a 10-mile practice — grew up to celebrate a single mile fifteen years later.
It was slow, but I did it, she said. Probably my first run in five years.
Like Brooke, I don’t run like I used to. And like Brooke, my cause for celebration drastically changed from high school to my thirties. Where I once ran 20 miles straight just to prove I could do it, yesterday I started walking after three. And those three miles were a win.
I fought hard to run three miles. I dropped thousands of dollars on physical therapy, cried after runs I was forced to cut short, and swore a dictionary’s worth of words to be healthy enough to get to three miles.
Like my high school teammate, I’m nowhere near where I was. But that doesn’t mean I can’t put all I have into where I’m at.
Just because you’re not at 100%, doesn’t mean you can’t put 100% into what you have.
When I was in college, my track coach had this saying: If you’re only at 80%, then give me 100% of your 80. No matter how sick, tired, or sore you are, give me 100% of what you have.
It completely changed my mindset.
In college, days off weren’t an option. Cold, flu, injury, finals, you showed up and gave what you had. My senior year, I had my plantar fascia surgically cut, ending a six-year fight with plantar fasciitis and placing me on crutches for six weeks.
I worked out the next day.
I couldn’t run, of course (and wouldn’t, for three months). But the day after surgery I found myself in the weight room with the rest of my team, doing one legged, lower body exercises and tackling upper body lifts from a seated position. When my teammates left to hit the track, I crutched to the university pool to do aquatic “sprints” in the deep end.
Were my workouts as hard as my teammates? Fuck no. But the resources and training onto which I built my athleticism were no longer available. I might only be able to get 80% of the workout my teammates got on the track, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t put 100% into my workout in the pool.
Right now, NONE of us are at 100%.
The habits and routines you mindfully put in place over the years are gone. You don’t know when to meal prep now that you don’t leave the house. You don’t listen to your favorite podcast on your morning commute. And you’re convinced — CONVINCED — your upstairs neighbors purposely wears cement shoes whenever you take a conference call.
You cannot expect yourself to be the same productive human when all the tools that make you productive are no longer available. You cannot demand the same output when you’re typing with a Mac on your lap on a sofa, versus when you’re heads-down at the office with two computer monitors and fast wifi. You cannot expect the same level of concentration when you can’t blow off steam at your hardcore gym or at happy hour with friends.
You may only be at 70%. But you can throw 100% into your 70.
I know you feel like you’re half-assing every piece of your life. And to that I say, fuck that.
You are throwing your whole damn ass into the half-work, half-home, half-social environment you were tossed into on a day’s notice. And you deserve a little self comp(ass)ion for doing the absolute best you fucking can.
You are giving 100% into what you have. And no one — not even yourself — can expect any more from you.
Remember: None of us are batting 500 here. We are all trying to navigate this together, playing on the same side of being completely off our game. And we need to remind each other that we are doing all we can.
If the best, sweatiest workout you can do today is watching a YouTube video in your living room, then to that I say two claps. If the highest caliber you can reach is submitting an assignment two hours past the deadline, then go you. And if the longest run you can complete is one, standalone mile after a five-year hiatus, then pour yourself a wine girl because you just killed it.
Only got 70% of yourself today? Cool. Give 100% of your 70.