Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Bad Run Is Just A Bad Run


You know those bumper stickers that say, a bad day fishing beats a good day working? I ran up against the other side of that idea today when I went out for a run. Most of the time I'm a runner and doing fine. I go about five or six miles five days a week, most of the time on my own but occasionally with friends. Then I get stuck in a trough and eight, ten, fifteen days go by without a run. For two weeks I've been in a funk and haven't run. I went out two days ago and did four miles. It felt pretty good but nothing great. Yesterday I missed running because I helped my parents move and hadn't gotten up early enough to run before all that. Today, I went out, but I didn't want to. As I headed out the door, my wife said, "maybe you'll feel better once you get out there." I sure hoped so.

I didn't end up feeling any better.

It's tough to explain what was wrong with the run. Nothing hurt. My feet, ankles, legs, shoulders, hips, and everything else felt good enough. No aches, no pains, no bothers. My breathing was good. I wasn't too full in the stomach or thirsty or needing to go to the bathroom or any of the other things that usually slow me down. Yet, I felt terrible.

I've tried to learn meditation but haven't been great at it. The only time I get close to feeling meditative is when I go for a run on the roads. (On the trails, I'm concentrating so much on not falling down that meditation escapes me. Maybe someday.) Today, on the run, I scanned my body to see what was wrong, to feel if anything was wrong at all. Nope. All systems were go. So then I was up in my head trying to figure out why I was sending all these messages to my body that it was time to stop and quit. I couldn't make much sense of it.

Since the run, I've showered, shaved, and come out to a chair in the front lawn with a glass of juice and the dog. I have brought the laptop and done a bit of reading (about vegetarian and vegan diets) and now I'm typing. I've come to a couple of conclusions that should have been obvious.

One, I don't need to know what's going on in my head right now. Saying that feels like a celebration of the unexamined life, but I mean that I don't have to understand the root cause of all this. Finding the cause is just me trying to wipe out the effect. Which leads to...

Two, my goal here isn't to stop this feeling. I feel a bit run down and out of it. In a word, I feel a little depressed. I don't have to fight that feeling. In fact, fighting it is, forgive the pun, depressing. It upsets my balance to push back against what I'm feeling.

Three, I don't have to resign myself to feeling this way forever. That has long been my concern when not fighting depressed feelings. It's not that I'll be feeling like this for the longest time, it's just that right now I feel this way and I might as well be accepting of it.

Enough of lists. As for running, it would be great to go uncork fifteen miles right now, but I've never run fifteen miles in one run before and I don't quite feel up to it now. I ran two and a half miles today and though they weren't the most refreshing steps I've ever taken, they were steps and my body and mind are better off for having taken them.

As for feeling depressed, I feel less so right now than I did an hour ago. Maybe it's the juice, the dog, the run, the fresh air out here in the front yard, or the act of typing. Whatever the case, I want to accept how I feel right now and embrace that in this moment. I'm curious to see what I feel next.

Truth to tell, I'm still nervous about not having run, about having a bad run, and wondering when the next run will be. I do worry that I'll never have a good run again, but then I hear a reasonable voice telling me to quit whining about it. I'll listen because that same voice suggests I keep running and that I also write on.