I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl. If I care about something – I mean, really, really care – I just absolutely cannot do it halfway. This is why, when I first became a nurse, I felt the need to douse my patients in Skin Prep. “If it works on their heels, why not their entire body!” And now, in the ER, the obsession has morphed into red socks and purple fall bands. I honestly think, if I wasn’t afraid people would laugh at me, that I would put purple bracelets on every available appendage. And maybe red socks on their hands, too. I mean, why not? What if they get confused in the night and try to crawl out of bed, hands first??? Better safe than sorry!!! These are the lovely little thought processes that are occuring in my brain when I should be: 1)hanging an antibiotic, 2)discharging that patient who keeps coming out of their room to glare me into action, 3)eating my dinner (Ha!), or 4)charting. I get this from my dad, who finds it physically impossible to buy just ONE box of the on-sale Rice-A-Roni when there is a perfectly good, empty bedroom closet practically begging to be filled with 50 boxes of the San Francisco treat. He has always been like that – growing up, one of my sister’s daily chores was to mix up several gallons of iced tea. Daily. Because Dad would drink them ALL. Over the years, this compulsion ranged from cigarettes (two packs a day for thirty years), Afrin nasal spray (packs and packs of these – we still find them, tucked away in various “just-in-case” spots, like glove compartments and junk drawers. Gotta keep that liquid gold nearby!), and pots and pots of coffee. But his biggest obsession by far is numbers. My dad keeps track of EVERYTHING. How many miles he walked, or biked, and what was his pace? What was the temperature? Which direction was the wind blowing? How long did it take him?
Which leads me to my current problem: I am in a running slump. I started running back in February, with an ultimate goal of 10 miles. Yes, at one time. My longest distance yet is 8.64 miles, which The Dude and I did a few weeks ago. Things were still going well then – I mean, the runs were challenging (and by challenging I mean brutally, awfully, insanely hard and I spent the majority of them alternating between telling myself that “It’s all in your head” and wanting to vomit). And then we competed in a 10K on July 3rd, and that’s when things started to go downhill.
I don’t enjoy my runs anymore. Where I used to get upset if something interfered with my run, now I am sort of secretely hopeful that it will rain, or a child will get sick, or, I don’t know – maybe I’ll break my leg and be excused indefinitely? Lately I find myself running simply so I won’t stop running. By that I mean, if I quit now – like cold-turkey just plain stopped running – I would lose all the progress I’ve made. If I ever decided to run again, I’d have to start back at the 2-3 mile mark, and the thought of that just seriously depresses me.
So, I have been really trying to figure out why I feel like I do. Maybe it’s the heat? Even when I run after work, at 7:30 AM, it’s still hot as balls. Maybe it’s working night shifts, and I’m just in a perpetual state of exhaustion? Maybe I’m bored with my routes? Maybe it is just a slump, and I have to push through it, then things will get better. Or maybe – and this is my worst fear – I’m NOT a runner, and all this time I’ve been coasting on ambitious fumes, too ignorant to realize that this whole “yogging” thing just won’t work for me. Sigh.
The Dude and I have talked about it alot lately, because stuff like this consumes me. I think about it all the time (hence, the blog. Obviously it’s not working. Yet.) And I think we may have stumbled upon a solution. You see, just prior to the race I became more focused on my pace (which has improved by one minute, I’m happy to say). And by “more focused” I mean obsessively, compulsively checking my awesome GPS watch (a gift from The Dude) for pace and distance. Like, looking at it every 5 minutes or so. Okay, fine. Every 2 minutes. And then keeping a record of my numbers (see, I told you I get it from my Dad). Maybe I’ve taken the fun out of it? Maybe my all-or-nothing personality has once again ruined something that should be fun, rewarding – at the very least, satisfying.
So tomorrow morning I’m going to do things differently. I’ll still be running in the cancerously-hot sun, and I’ll still have my GPS watch on. But this time, I’m not going to check it. Not even once. Hopefully.