The heat and humidity here in south east Kansas is exhausting me. That's a really boring word to use for how I feel, but it's really accurate. I've taken two days off of running in the past week. Tonight, it was even only 78ºF (with 95% humidity, but still nice and cool). I sleep in when I wake up in the morning because it's so humid I don't want to go out and run. Then after I get off work it is typically unbearable to do more than 30 minutes, and frankly, anything less than an hour of running seems pointless to me.
The hard part is not the resting, I'm good at laying around, it's the thoughts inside my own head, the feeling that I am not good enough, that I am not doing enough, that I am not living up to my own standards of what is possible, of what I can do. It's depressing, and the negative thoughts move so quick! 'I'm out of shape. I'm going to flop at my next race. What's the point? Why don't I just quit already? What do I have to prove? Why do I keep putting myself through this? Why did I go out and suffer for three hours on Saturday? The system isn't working. I'm weak...' On and on the thoughts go. Where they stop nobody knows.
Feelings are not fact. John Oliver pointed that out in his most recent show on the RNC where many politicians discussed feelings rather than facts. I know that missing two days of running in a week is not the end of the world. It doesn't mean I am out of shape and going to flop. Unfortunately, knowing those facts about myself does not 100% change the way I feel. My feelings, to me, are reality just as your feelings are reality to you. It's really the only method that each one of us has to experience the world.
To be fair, motivation is the balance of what we are running away from and what we are running toward. Those negative thoughts, those feelings, are part of my motivation. Around 3:00 AM on May 21st as I was around 28,500 feet on the last stretch before the South Summit of Mt. Everest I had an intense desire to turn around, that I didn't want to be there, I wasn't having fun. It was bizarre, I can't remember ever having a feeling quite like that. I have had enough bad periods to know what to do mentally. I checked if I was in any danger, or if I was doing something poorly, like stumbling, and I was totally fine, so I kept going, and the feeling went away minutes later as quick as it came on. Point being, I have a lot of internal motivation, it's much of the reason I have done as much as I have done in my 30 years, and a big portion of that motivation is what I am figuratively running away from. It's the kind of thing that ultimately has been a big positive for me, motivating me to do things, but it's also the kind of thing I don't wish on others. People often tell me of their occasional running and I often say, "That's probably more healthy [than what I do]." I leave it at that, because no one asks any deeper questions, but I don't just mean physically, I mean mentally and emotionally too.
Here's the thing, take anything serious enough, and you will know it well enough that you will know you will never do it perfectly. You may be the best in the world at it, but you will realize it could be done better. That is also part of the reason I go to church every Sunday and pray to a perfect God, because I realize I cannot be perfect, and no one can. Oh amazing things can happen, we can call things the perfect performance, but the truth is, there is always room for improvement, which is a hard pill to swallow. On that note, I'm going to sleep so that I can wake up tomorrow and be better than I was today.
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