Monday, July 4, 2011

A Post, Post Poor Performance

There should be some sort of clever communicative intertwining here, a gained sense of independence with my daily goings on. But I can’t. I probably will in a very piss poor manor, though.

The dichotomy between my desired freedom and the tyranny (there it is) I find I place upon myself reached its highest point this morning. On a slight whim, I signed up for Elmhurst’s 4 on the 4th. I say slight because I wanted to give myself a challenge on the roads and after a string of larger sized races in the city, the lull and lure of a smaller suburban event, akin to what I loved doing in the summertime of my formative years (and was successful at), needed to occur. And was affordable.

I’ve been lifting and doing more workouts frequently in the past few weeks, reacquainting myself with a pair of free weights and my rowing machine. I had a beautiful run on Wednesday, traipsing along the lakefront down to Shedd and back around the loop with no complaints, save a touch of tightness in my hips (and failing to forget that the Taste is/was currently going on. Bastard tourists, out of my way!)

On Friday, I prepared to set out on a jaunt but felt kind of light headed. It happened earlier in the week as well, so I stayed in the confines of my apartment and wiggled around in the privacy of my living room, blinds shut tightly.

Same thing on Saturday, especially exacerbated by the humidity of the day led me to complete one of the hardest workouts I’ve done in a long while. Four sets of five minute increments of increasing strokes a minute, strapped in my rower (I dislike referring to it/her as an Erg) at a high level of resistance for a half hour, no stopping. It was incredibly empowering, nicely sweat producing and left me feeling very, very sore on Sunday.

Didn’t go away today. Within the first four hundred meters, I felt off. That hip tightness plus the increased rowing left me with legs that wanted nothing to do with my actions. My upper body felt strong and solid. Should have run on my hands, probably would have fared better. 

I had no turnover, no springiness to my step. I wasn’t planning on breaking barriers, but I felt I could comfortably challenge myself to take on 8:30s for the whole thing and not fall apart.

First two miles of my four mile journey felt fine, going 8:32 and 8:37, respectively. But mile three was disastrous. I felt a bit light-headed (this is what I get for remaining in my air conditioned oasis, away from society) and I don’t know if it’s possible, but felt like I stopped sweating. Slowed down to a pathetic crawl until I reached a point with enough lush tree coverage that I cleared my head and remembered how much my left hip was aggravating me on the same streets my once beloved-from-afar Don Sage meandered along, so I assumed.  

One mile remained and by that point, the gradual uphill towards the finish failed to bother me. Children (I mean eight, 10 year old children) and those I would deem elderly (everyone else I know is always willing to consider anyone over the age of 50, like, REALLY old) passed me by. I tried to distract my thoughts with recalling memories of visits to the nearby Lizzardro Museum of Lapidary (hint: it's a museum of rocks), but one can only think of limestone for so long.

Not only were my legs disinterested increasing speed in the final stretch, but I gotta say that my heart was, too.

I can’t be frustrated because it’s clearly some sort of running Munchausen by proxy thing going on in my brain. I have run five races of note and interest in the last 14+ months and every single one I have felt ill prepared, under run leading up to the event due to whatever excuse is in fashion and end highly dissatisfied with my result. Hell, I’m happy with my compatriots who I enjoy toeing the line alongside and the never ending pile of shirts one can accumulate, but that’s not what I thought my primary motivation was...is?

The one thing I always could go to was running. Even in college when that got rather physically sidetracked, I still ran consistently, raced infrequently. I was OK at the beginning of my post-school life of identifying myself through my work (everyone else did); it was a great place with hard working people. But I still ran, in the mornings when I was out in the burbs, downtown, out in Oak Park, even truncated efforts at lunch. It all changed in a small window. The happy work connection faded when my own and office morale began to decline and couldn't recover. Passiveness, laziness became the culture I was exposed to, and I think I fell into that pit as well.

For whatever reason, running took a back seat in the balance of everything over the past 10 months, when I began my grad school program.  But is that a noble enough excuse? I don’t think so.

I feel like--no, I know I fear experiencing what I deem happiness. Happiness to me is feeling that always too-quick, fleeting moment of sheer bliss in accomplishment. And I can’t handle the notion that I can’t completely regain such with a snap of a finger, so I’d rather not try and face failure.

That's such horsesh*t on my part.

I need to believe/buy into the notion that patience pays off and give it a real go. And since I've already paid for my spot in the Chicago Half thats now ten weeks away, I need to make this one count.