Monday, 7 April 2014

Fear and Self-Loathing in Utopia

(Serves One Disillusioned Runner. Add Laughter to Suit Taste.)

Today I stumbled upon a guaranteed recipe for fear and self-loathing. I will share it here with the hope that it will prevent other non-Olympic level, everyday runners from falling into the same trap. For most people this will probably read as "Duhhhh, obvious," but clearly, not for me, not today. As usual, I like to inject humour, because it makes me feel better.

Recipe for Fear:

Sign up for a marathon.

Recipe for Self-Loathing Prologue:

Train for, and then complete, another long-distance event before your marathon. Say, for example, Hamilton's 30K Around the Bay. This in and of itself does not produce self-loathing. This actually will produce pride. However, as some of us tend to do along the path to increased fitness, there is always opportunity to throw more challenges at our tired and aching bodies: Come ON, you don't need to REST after your 30K, you need to KEEP TRAINING for the marathon! 

Which, of course, is true. But rest is also important. So last week, I rested my weary post-30K legs. My quadriceps were particularly tender for two full days. Then I tried a circuit training class on the fourth day after the race. It felt good to stretch. On the fifth day, I ran for an hour on the treadmill and then did 15 minutes of strength training, focusing on the legs. On the seventh evening, my husband and I went out to dinner with friends. We did not get to bed until 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Needless to say, I did not attempt any kind of exercise on Sunday.

So here we are, one week and one day after the 30K race, 
and here it is, my personal, guaranteed,

Recipe for Self Loathing:

1. Plan to run a 24K long run Monday instead.
2. Go to your pre-booked therapeutic massage first. Feel fabulous.
3. Run a banking errand for your husband. Mix in lunch. Feel full.
4. Get home, get changed, and get out the door to run 24K. Feel sluggish. Oh and don't forget to strap on that new backpack water bladder for extra weight.
5. Run 7K. Add these thoughts: all the housework you still have to do; all the writing you have planned; how fatigued you still feel; how your new shoes are making your feet feel a little uncomfortable. Gradually mix in: your hate-on for all the snow still on the ground; your strong dislike for grey, dull, damp weather; your irritation with the road and all of its f!!#@!!ng brown puddles that you have to dodge; your un-neighbourly feelings towards the guy in the pick-up truck who drives by and smiles (but it's kind of a bemused smile, like he thinks you're a little nuts). Then feel damp and cold. 
6. Walk 1K. Feel defeated.
7. Go home. 
8. Bake in hot shower for 15 minutes. Feel rejuvenated enough to write blog about fear and self-loathing.

Icing (optional, but key ingredient for today):

Sigh deeply. Gather yourself together. Remember you just ran 30K one week ago and you are 50 and healthy. That's cool. Feel better. Go pick up your kid at the bus stop.

For Best Results:  Always remember to add a pinch of laughter to your "off" days. And NEVER, EVER, plan a massage, lunch, then long run, in that order, EVER AGAIN. Duh.

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