Training brain

Yesterday, my friend Amy shared this photo from Runner’s World Daily. She said it made her think of me. You only have to search my blog to see how many references I have to pancakes to understand why:

I may or may not have spit my Nuun-flavored water out of my nose when I saw this. There’s a certain point in training where you start to lose rational thought. It’s typically portrayed in the marathon runner, but honestly, it’s a function of what is long for you. I remember days of hallucinating while training for a 5K. Training brain knows no distance requirement. There is a point when I just start to feel stupid. I completely lose the ability to do math and yet try to convert kilometers to miles and then calculate pace. I forget to use verbs when I speak. I think fire hydrants in the distance are people. And I usually spread the joy to those running with me.

This doesn’t happen every time I run. Occasionally it’s a sign that a bonk is around the corner (at which point I take a shot block or gel or whatever endurance sport food product I have on my person at the time) but usually it’s just me, absorbed in my activity and my overactive mind is trying to get in the game. Hence the kooky thoughts.

The same friend also shared a an inspirational piece from I ♥ to Run which included the line: We believe your personal best isn’t always a PR. I have direct evidence of this. See Musselman from the past summer. I still haven’t looked up my finishing time because the time didn’t matter. I was proud of the way I approached the run, proud of keeping the wheels from falling off. Instead, I embraced the day for what it was and felt the quality was amazing, even though the time was likely crap. And who wants to remember the crap? What exactly would that get me? Nothing. So let’s revel in all I did right.

I thought of both these things on my 7-mile run this morning. My average pace has been slow the last few weeks as I’ve resumed a regular training schedule. Instead of worrying about it, I’m focused on what I can do. And worrying about my time isn’t going to make me run faster. Fear really isn’t a great motivator. Neither is anger or revenge. My personal best is showing up with my best attitude, my best focus and my best intentions. Everything else, I trust will fall into place. And if it doesn’t? Well, there’s plenty to laugh about. And there are always pancakes.

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