If we were having a drink right now, I’d be drinking Gatorade. Lemon-lime Gatorade, to be exact. No booze for me until after the mini-marathon next weekend. Wait…what? “Isn’t that a little extreme for just a mediocre runner like yourself?” you ask. Although your comment about mediocrity stings a little, I keep a straight face. “Well, yeah, maybe so. But I figure I need all the help I can get, right?”
Runners are obsessive people. We obsess over numbers, training logs, nutrition, hydration, the weather, our feet! We stretch constantly, we foam roll our IT bands in agony, we massage our knotted-up calves with golf balls, we no longer eat but “fuel.” All this stuff, at least for me, is part of the fun—it builds excitement and anticipation up for a race, for a goal. It also eases my mental state (and according to all those motivational posters, running is like 95% mental, right?). If I feel like I’ve done everything I can to try and make sure I have a “good” day, come race-day, I have no reason to feel anything but confident.
Now this is rather annoying, as you can imagine, when the 250-lb man who polished off a growler of Sun King and a Hugh Jass burrito last night barrels past me down the finish line, huffing and spewing all the way. But alas, the universe is not always fair.
If we [you] were having a drink right now, I’d tell you I am counting down the days until summer vacation. It’s been a long year. And I will be proud when June 7 rolls by and I can say I survived my first year of “life in the real world” which is what everyone’s calling adulthood these days. But holy cow, I am so ready for some sunshine, some 90-degree Indiana humidity to gripe about, some swimming pools and some ice cream.
I’ve offered you my last Gatorade at this point, and now I’m telling you about how I’m trying really hard lately to be a more positive person. Not an easy task if you’ve ever tried it. Yikes…The idea here is to stop allowing ourselves to be controlled by stress—something I know I’m guilty of way more than I’d like to admit.
I am a to-do list person, which is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s refreshing to create a bit of order in what often feels like a world of chaos, but on the other hand, to-do lists can quickly take over your life, your sanity and make a pathetic sucker out of you. This idea hit me in the shower yesterday (where all the best ideas seem to live) and I thought, what if I stop trying so hard to finish my to-do list? I never do anyway. It’s impossible and the stress of feeling like I have to get 25 things accomplished at once is enough to give me stroke. It’s at least enough to make me dwell on how tired I am, again, which is annoying for everyone and is actually a result of negative thinking itself. I recently read that fatigue is not necessarily physiological, but a product of our perception. Fatigue is our brain’s way of telling us we just need to focus our minds on something positive.
This has to be true, right? Think about it. The days I feel so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open are the same days when everything seems hopeless and bad. Coincidence? Probably not. The path toward positivity for me starts with taking some time each day to just focus on what’s good. Like the other day I thought, I’m sick and tired of this stupid rain but wow—look how beautiful it’s made the grass and the trees. Everything is so green, finally. And this weekend, when my legs hurt like hell on my ten-mile run, I’ll try my hardest to remember that I’m so lucky to be healthy and to be able to actually do this when so many others are hurt or sick.
If we were having a drink right now, I’d go recycle our empty bottles (of course) and say thanks for listening to my ramblings on life and have a great weekend.