Monday, February 22, 2010

The Wake Up Text

Why is waking up so difficult? The number one fight I face with my running is the one I face on a daily basis with conversations I have with my pillow.

Let me say this: I know that it is stupid to try and decide if it's a good day to run while lying in bed. I know that I will feel better physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually if I go for a run. I know that my future races and runs will be immensely better if I pull myself out of bed. Every time I run the decision to do so has to be made the night before. I know all of this and more, yet when the time comes to get up the same battle ensues.

This morning I woke up and hit snooze. Snuggle the wife, snooze a little, nothing wrong with that... but then a major stroke against my chances of running came in the form of a call. One of my two running partners, who will remain nameless for now, called and said he would not be showing up for the run in exchange for more sleep. Now I was in trouble big time. After thinking it over for a moment or two I texted the other runner in our three person group - it read: "Bryan called and is sleeping in like a weakling. But that sounds good to me too. Sorry mate. I'll not miss tomorrow no matter anything." It was early so excuse the grammar.

I roused myself and went to alleviate the stress on my bladder, during which time my friend Bryce texted me back, "Leaving me to run by myself..." So now the guilt of abandoning my fellow man was hanging over me, and yet I still laid back down in bed with every intention of sleeping more. I figured I owed him some inspiration that might still get him out there alone so I texted, "Test of character."

Maybe this is a good time to explain that Bryce is a lawyer, so he knows how to work my heartstrings with his well placed words. I heard the text come back and I knew I should ignore it. But I turned on my elbow and read these words, "Still time to fix yours." Transfixed I stared at my phone for about two minutes or more maybe, taking internal inventory of my reasons for staying or going. The trick had been done and my mind was now awake enough that it was able to think clearly as opposed to the muddy thoughts one has when the alarm first goes off. The lies of a sore body, extra sleep, bad weather, and any other excuses my weak flesh could come up with were no longer a match for an alert and ready mind. So I texted back that I was coming and went for my run.

Now sitting here after a morning that started right in spite of the near "sleep in," it feels great to know that the system worked. The buddy system that is! One buddy fell off the pain train and the "weight was almost more than I could bear," but the other buddy persistently refused to allow for such tomfoolery. The personal decision is there but the safety net of the buddy caught me again - thanks to all my buddies!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sleep Deprivation

So maybe the key to the whole things is lack of sleep.

The KEY - we are all looking for the secret to our running successfully, the key to it all. Is it diet, sleep, training, shoes, gear, weather, certain courses, morning vs. night, lucky socks, a beard 0r mustache, not showering or showering the morning of a race, watching the right pump up movie the night before, not getting pumped up at all, music, no music, the right music - the list goes on and on and on. If you're a runner you know what I'm talking about.

And then sometimes to our ultimate surprise when all factors are against us we turn out some time or performance that should not have been - we feel better than expected and just run well. No way around it. Sometimes everything is done perfectly and we run as anything but perfect. So what is the key?

This weekend I ran a race after 2 hours of sleep, if you can call it that. My job lends itself to being crazy with high school kids every now and again, and though I tend to try to stay away from all-nighters for my own health and for the health of my marriage, you just "have to" as they say every so often.

But the 10k, which I am not in shape to run based on training or mindset, went surprisingly well. It was no PR and certainly nothing crazy, but my body should not be running 5:45 pace for 6 miles right now and be feeling easy - especially after 2 hours of sleep... or should it? Because it did!

I think those great runners out there are laughing at me. Maybe they have realized, and I've heard a lot of stories about Pre and others that would back this up, that when it comes to race time you just run. You leave the rest behind and all that matters is pushing yourself with everything you've got for the allotted distance. You run.

Maybe there is no secret. Even the secret of training hard to race hard betrays me and some other folks I have known. Maybe the elusive unicorn in the depths of the forest wants to be found and we just have to run to find it, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in or around. I am not sure but in spite of bad diet, the worst diet, the night before and no sleep here I have a good run... Thoughts?