Friday, September 16, 2011

Sticks and stones

I've been feeling very temperamental these last few days.  Maybe I'm torn in too many directions, burning the candle at both ends, getting too much sleep, not getting enough; really, the possible explanations are endless.  Tuesday morning, I couldn't wake up soon enough in anticipation of my first run since April and this morning I almost talked myself out of it.  The only things that seem to be concrete right now is how short my fuse is getting and how much I end up changing my mind in a short time.  I am, right now, in a word, crabby.

This morning, once I finally committed myself to the cause and pressed "start" on my Garmin, and started running I waited for the euphoric runner's high to wipe away my bad mood.  And then I waited some more.  My current regiment calls for three rounds of 2 running minutes and 8 walking minutes; after the initial 2 running minutes, I was certain that my morning jaunt was going to haunt me more than release me.  What felt freeing on Tuesday, felt cumbersome today; what motivated me then, had begun to daunt me; the disappointingly short 2.5 mile loop began to seem like 25.  But I trudged on, obediently switching gears according to the beeps and I finished in what seemed to be a shorter time than Tuesday.

I did finish quicker than Tuesday, by almost 2 minutes; and that first cumbersome interval, turned out to be the fastest pace I've been able to sustain possibly ever.  All of a sudden what seemed at first to be a rough start to the day became a ray of hopeful light.  Isn't it funny how a simple definitive result can affect a whole experience!  This morning it was a good thing, but what about the times when the end result shadows the joy?  It has been said that true rewards are found in the journey, not the destination.  This morning, the reward was defined neither by the run nor the effort, but by the Garmin.  Even thought the feeling was brag-tastic it was external, none the less.

I always think that running is a metaphor for life; that whatever I experience in life can be explained and examined through a run and whatever lessons I learn from a run can be projected into life.  In a strange way, my handy dandy GPS watch has become an interloper; another metaphor perhaps.  Maybe electronic feedback can be just as disheartening as public opinion, that is, if I choose to allow it.  As Eleanor Roosevelt, so famously, said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." 

Ultimately, I want to feel good; we all do.  Maybe the lesson is that I've grown to depend too much on the data, the external sources, to define happiness.  Maybe the various directions that my life seems to be pulling me, the burning candles, and my sleeping habits aren't really the cause of my crabbiness; maybe its that I'm depending on the external feedback to define my journey after the fact instead of using my internal barometer to help navigate the course. 

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