Taking shore leave

28 07 2011

In the 22nd Century—long before the days of Captains Kirk or Picard—when the Enterprise was under the command of Jonathan Archer, the first shore leave was suggested by First Officer T’Pol, a Vulcan, when she noted a 3% drop in efficiency among the mostly human crew.  Taking a lesson from T’Pol (and a suggestion from my trainer), I have decided to do the same.

I love running.  It makes me feel like the primate that I am, connecting my body with nature and my inner beast as it frees my soul to blend with the ether of the cosmos.  And ever since my first 5k when I got a prize for placing in my age group, it has given me something to strive for.  Whether to go longer, faster or through a path strewn with obstacles, the current goal always gives me a way to make myself better at something.  In other words, it gives me hope and a sense of future—something an aging human often loses but nonetheless desperately needs to avoid slipping into the backward-looking malaise of old age.

Of course, it wouldn’t be ME if I didn’t find some way to turn joy into duty and pleasure into stress which is what I’ve been doing lately as the insane weather of the past two weeks has caused me to fall behind on my training schedule.  After a recent outburst of why-do-I-hate-my-life frustration, my husband noted, “Your business is doing fine and the only thing you’re probably stressed out about is running.  I think after this marathon, you need to take a break.  I mean, when are you going to do some NORMAL running again?”  That’s when a light bulb went off:  “Normal running?  Wha?  Oh, yeah.  Normal running.”  That’s what the problem is.  I’ve lost the fun of running by infusing it with the bitter tincture of work.  After consulting my trainer we both concluded that, since training feels like a job right now fraught with deadlines and pressure and angst, it’s time to chill out for a couple of days.  Live like a normal person.  Then get back to it.

There are roughly 8 weeks between now and the Berlin Marathon.  What’s a few days difference going to make if it means regaining my joy?  So what if I don’t get as far as a 20 mile long run before the race?  So what if I even have to walk much of the 26.2?  So what if I’m miserable that day?  I’m not a quitter.  I’m still going to do it.  I’m going to finish the marathon, get that big honkin’ medal, and join the group of crazy people constituting less than 1% of the population.  I will be a marathoner and nobody will ever be able to take that away from me.  It’s probably going to suck at some point during the race no matter how much training I do.  So why be miserable today?   Take a break. Refresh body-mind-and-soul, and then get back to the training.  Seriously…..even Jean Luc Picard took a vacation now and then.

Training completed in the past two weeks:

Running:  7 mile was the max in distance, a couple of 3 milers and a walk or two
Biking:  a 15 miler and 20 mile ride
Strength/balance/core:  twice-weekly sessions with the trainer
Flexibility:  not enough

Eating:  controlled chaos

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