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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mentally Scary

     530am comes quick. I woke up feeling great and actually looking forward to my LSD (Long, slow distance) run.
     Breakfast was simple: toast and a banana then GU (I tried the tri-berry today). I packed up my mid-run GU and started the mapmyrun app to keep track of me and for easy logging later.
     It's dark when I start around 615am and I've adjusted to that, though it wasn't that way about a month ago. When I head out I focus on mini goals to help me stay in a positive mindset. The first one is reaching "the traffic lights" That's the daylight point. But before I was out of my neighborhood, I was spooked. I swear everything was howling. Cats, dogs and even the chickens! I'm not kidding, the headphones have not been put on faster.
     With music playing I figured the scariness would lessen. Nope. With my ears plugged to the environment my eyes started noticing the weird teenager out walking and the fact that it was darker than normal. With overcast blanketing the sky I had this lonely feeling that I would never see the sun. That is not a positive mantra.
     Just as a note there was a song that had lyrics saying "this doesn't get better" I was like "really??" I've never noticed those words in that song before, but of course they stuck out today.
     Crossing the main street I make it to the main trail. I love the trails because they are wide and the pavement is nice to run on with my Nike's. Then I start seeing, or in fact..not seeing because there aren't any streetlights or trail lights for the path. I was pissed that the cars that have headlights got all the luminescence on the road. It was creepy dark! I started thinking this is a crazy idea, running out here in the dark and without any one around..Plus there was this bird. Yes a bird that looked like a rock on the path..because it was so dark. As I approached the "rock" it flew up just passed my face and I had a freak-out jumping moment. Stupid bird.
     To keep my sanity, I took a walking break about 2 miles sooner than normal to adjust my mindset. I started telling myself that there were going to be others outside soon, then cars and finally the sun will start brightening the trail. I was wrong again.
     My first goal landmark arrived: the traffic lights. What happened? darkness..still. what..the..hell?!? All these events were less than motivating. I figured the happy daylight wasn't going to come anytime soon with the damn overcast. Damn you weather! Just another mental thing to overcome. I can do it.
     Another strange thing..there weren't any walkers, runners or bikers out doing their thing....hmm. I'm starting to feel like there was a memo that I just didn't get.
     Once I reached my second landmark I was super pissed. There's this fishing pond about 2.5 miles out and there's always people out fishing, walking (there's a trail head) or at least cars parked. Nothing. No one. It's still dark. That weird blue-toned light started about here. That does not count as daylight to me. I just figured that at this point there wasn't a happy ending. No sun until after I get home, no people to smile at while running on the trail and no funny people staring from their car.
Glimpse of Daylight-Hope

     Then on the positive side of things..what? there's a positive?!? Yes..positive. I took a look at my phone to see how I was doing. With all the creepy, negative things I was focused on during my run so far..I had not been paying attention to pace/distance..I was doing damn good.
     Jumping forward a mile, it was time for my mid-run GU (tried the mandarin orange). I took a walking break to ingest this stuff, ughalak! the texture makes me want to gag..but the taste actually isn't that bad (well..some of them) back to my light problem. The daylight started coming out and I was feeling great. Amazing how something simple as light can make such a mental difference.

     After the GU I saw the first people since I left my house, the weird teenager didn't count; it was a couple walking with backpacks on. Then by the time I reached the fountain again I saw an old man sitting to tie his shoe, later another couple running with their dog...who looked like this >>
     Whether it was actually this or not, I have no idea. But you can imagine it put a smile on my face to see this thing with all its hairy goodness running with its tongue out. Glorious.
     Feeling mentally better than when I started, I just focused on getting the rest done, the last half. Of course, that wasn't going to be as easy as I was hoping. I had one of the most stubborn side stitches ever. Lame. I usually can get rid of one pretty quickly..but this one had no intention of letting me run. I was pissed..again. I had the energy to just shoot and I felt great, but then this little thing is stopping me.
     I hate when things are in my way. Eventually, I got the stubborn pain to lessen..but I couldn't get it to go away completely. You can imagine how that put a damper on my pace. Oh well. Getting out there and doing it, regardless of time or distance is the bigger picture for me.
     To sum this up, I want to tell you what helped make sense of most of my running events was Sunday and I had no clue.
     Now is when you laugh at me. I usually run on a Saturday, which is why I'm used to all the activity going on around me. I don't know if the anniversary of 9/11 has people stay indoors as well to make it double-lonely on the road, but the roads and paths were definitely empty. I didn't realize it was Sunday until I got home and Daniel wasn't there....once he arrived I asked why he took so long to get home, wondering if it was another long day at work. He had the most confused face and tone in his voice..then he reminded me that it was Sunday. bam..the "OH" moment. Like a giant light lit a mental tunnel.
     The whole Sunday thing still doesn't fix the fact that it was creepy dark outside, but does make sense of other things. This was only 7 miles for wasn't hard physically at all. Done this before, but it was just mentally challenging.
     Sorry for such a looong post, I just had to share. If you read through this whole thing you deserve a gold star!! Thanks a ton, you guys are champs =>