To clarify, for those who don’t follow IU basketball: The Indiana Hoosiers recently upset No. 3 Wisconsin, only to turn around their next game and stink it up — at home — against a team with a losing record.
It’s a familiar pattern in sports, and it fit my run yesterday perfectly: Overconfidence after a few good training runs led me straight into a crap quagmire when I didn’t bother getting my head together before what I thought would be an easy run.
Part of the problem was that I was in a rush. I really wanted to do a longer run, but I had to get back to take my daughter to the dentist. I figured I had time – just barely – to stop by the Y after work for a 6-miler. A mere 48 laps – nothing at all, really, compared with recent 80- and 96-lap runs, or my 2-hour treadmill session.
But because I was feeling pressed for time, I never got dialed in on the mind-body interface. Part of me was still thinking of running in terms of hours, from my treadmill session, and so I didn’t really pay much attention to the laps I was clicking on my pitch counter. What I did notice was how many runners were passing me. I tried speeding up, but I couldn’t settle in on a pace that felt comfortable. Meanwhile, once I did start checking my lap count, and comparing it with the clock on the wall, I just got more and more disgruntled. Those time-machine meditations that had so entertained me the last couple of weeks? Completely inaccessible.
Another problem was hunger – probably a mental thing, a bit of interior stress given that I still need to make weight by the end of the month if I want to maintain my lifetime status at Weight Watchers.
The short form: I wasn’t psyched up for this run, didn’t have any plan other than getting it done, and probably was (just a bit) short on fuel. And with that mindset, in a setting where you’ve got to keep going round and round instead of over hill and dale under sunny skies and rainbows, I bailed after a mere 4 miles.
For a while driving home afterward I wondered if I should try again later in the day. Then I decided, “No, this is my Northwestern game. I’m going to let it stand in all its ugliness, and hope that it inspires me to do better next time – just like happened with IU.”