I’m feeling “off” today. I had to force myself to sleep last night, and when I woke up this morning at 5:20 a.m., I wanted to continue sleeping. Maybe it’s the work happy hour I went to last night where my colleagues complained about their jobs and I started to resent my own job, even though I like my work and coworkers. Or maybe it’s the muscle soreness I felt throughout the last two days, a product of increasing the amount of weight I’ve been lifting with my legs this past week. Or maybe it’s the increase in mileage as the marathon approaches. Or maybe it’s that my girlfriend has worked every single day for over three months and I barely see her during the week. Or maybe it’s the hard run from NP_NYC PR Day (LINK).
(Spoiler alert: It’s obviously a combination of all those things.)
These “off” days always come after a string of triumphs. Just last week I noticed that my maximum aerobic running pace had increased, and that I felt more comfortable on the roads in the wake of my injury. I had come to accept the things I disliked about my job, and become more productive as a result. In the gym, I had increased how much weight I could lift with my legs on all exercises. And hey, even if my girlfriend has been working a lot recently, we’ve shared lots of quality weekend time.
Leave it to me to turn all that progress into negativity!
But anyway! What do we do when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and hate everything and everyone? We run! And what happens when we run? We feel a little better.
Nothing really sticks out from the run. It was a pure Maffetone workout consisting of 12 minutes warming up at a heart rate below the bottom of my aerobic heart rate zone of 135-145 beats per minute, 6.2 miles of running in my aerobic heart rate zone, and 12-15 minutes of cool down. The park was quiet enough that I could hear crickets around the Harlem Hill, and I finished up on West Drive near 65th Street feeling pleasantly tired and ready for more.
The run makes sense to me: stick to the plan, one foot in front of the other, don’t stop until you’re done. When the plan stops working, reach out for help, tweak it if necessary, keep your head down and have faith. I love the simplicity of it. The rest of life seems like total chaos. Not the getting up and going to work and making dinner and sleeping and routine stuff. No. I’m talking about the uncertainty that pops up (at least in my life) at every turn: the friend who needs a few minutes to talk about an issue in his life, and the uncertainty around whether you helped him in any way; the train that decides not to come, making you even later to work; and the existential questioning that arises when you realize that you want to do something different with your time, but aren’t yet sure what that thing is or how to get it.
So, today I will take my own advice from my running and apply it to my life: stick to the plan, one foot in front of the other, don’t stop until I’m done. When the plan stops working, reach out for help, tweak it if necessary, keep my head down and have faith. And, on top of it all, embrace the uncertainty.
Also, foam rolling for the muscle soreness.
UPDATE: In a move that demonstrates how weird yet awesome my Mom is, I get this text from her around 10:15 a.m. from Ocean City, MD:
“Would you wear this? On sale.”
I obviously said yes. Looks like I’ll be swimming in style.