Tuesday, April 20, 2010

wuuuuuuhhh... and... done.

That sound when I am totally out of breath after running hard or doing something physical and gasping for breath. When the workout is done an important part is recovery. Not just physical but mental recovery. There is that wuuuhh of the mind that says 'I am done. Okay, what did that mean? Was it satisfying? It feels good to be done. I feel safer now. Life is good.'

I had a realization last week. I have a very good formal education. I feel that education is the foundation of productive work. Before you can do something with any sort of economical productiveness you need to learn how to do it. I now have that. I have two engineering degrees. I will have those the rest of my life. I will always be able to say, "I have an MS in materials science and engineering and a BS in aerospace engineering." The last week has been a bit a a wuuuhh for me mentally. I've been stressing myself out about a job and money for more than a month. Now that I'm working and spending time around middle aged and older people I realize the hole I'm in is really not that bad.

One of my favorite things to do, which I intend to do a lot this summer, is flop on my back after a hard run while I'm still breathing hard. People always try to get me up so I don't cramp or something but I very rarely cramp. No one has really figured out recovery "workouts" yet. Should you finish the last half mile of every run in a sprint finish or a slow jog? Should you run a cool-down 2 minutes after your race or can it wait 20 minutes like most people eventually do? After 20 minutes does it do much good? There a a lot of things that most really good international running coaches agree on such as working out around anaerobic threshold or lactate threshold pace. The cool-down is somewhat more subjective.

Under a stress (running a race, worrying about a job, whatever) the focus is on the stress. The importance of things are taken way out of proportion. It's a good thing to have that focus so that the task is accomplished well. However, it is also important to evaluate how that task fits into the big picture of one's life. In many cases this may take years after the fact. Many of the lessons I learned in the past took years after the lesson for me to actually get the message.

Sometimes we just need to breathe.

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