8/28/13

Stay on Target . . .

"Stay on target. Stay. On. Target." (Probably the ONLY Star Wars reference
you'll ever see on this blog (unless made mid rant).)
Well . . . another week down on the ol' GoRun Wichita Start 2 Finish training program and we're just 46 days from the Prairie Fire (Half) Marathon itself. Hard to imagine considering how far, far away the race once was . . . I digress. Which, oddly enough, is the them of this week's running-related post.

You see, dear reader, I have a problem. I have a smidge of ADD. Just a touch, I promise. Look, squirrel. I mean, wow. Look over there. Sorry - what were we talking about . . . oh right (squirrel again) - my focus.

I struggle with mental focus more than others from time to time. It usually depends on what pressure there is for me to stay focused (eminent deadline, child staring at me for a well-developed answer, gun to the head, etc.) and what the challenge that wants my focus looks and feels like (dropping bills in the mail, gun to the head, etc.).

It probably suffices to say that running is not a friend of my focus these days. For a long time, it was. I had to be aware of my every breath and how my body felt and if my posture was right and how far in to the run I was and what percentage that leaves, etc. etc. etc. but the longer I run (I don't mean that in terms of days in the streak - I mean that in the distance of the run) the more likely I am to get distracted. Saturday was the poster child of this problem.

12 miles. TWELVE miles. I arrived at the starting point at 4:35 AM. I stretched and strode out at 4:50 with a pair of compression socks wrapped around my calves, a map in my head, a full bottle of water, a pocket of nutrition (which sounds vaguely suggestive but it is not) and a general sense of "let this go better than last week, please" in my head. Simple route . . . .5 miles, turn right, two miles, turn right, two miles, turn right, two miles, turn right, two miles - stop and pee - two miles out, two miles back. And PERHAPS that simple route filled with wide, flat sidewalks, and no need to focus on anything was my mistake.

First eight miles were great. No issue in my calves. Problem solving and even some good focus on some issues from earlier in the week. But, around the middle of mile nine my brain and body had the following dialogue (verbatim) . . .

BRAIN - "Hey, buddy. Whatcha' doin'?
BODY - "Running twelve miles. Can you believe THAT? I'm starting to feel okay with all this crap."
BRAIN - "Yeah, right. No. No I can not believe that. Do you have someone following you? I don't feel a gun to the side of my house. What's the motivation?"
BODY - "Oh, you know what we're doing here - brain - trying to get ready for a big race and push ourselves."
BRAIN - "Sure, sure, sure . . . I remember all that. Good times. But seriously let's stop. Let's just walk for a while. Just a little while. A blip on a 12 mile distance?"
BODY - "Nah. Screw that. Can you bring up some mental images of boobs or put my monthly budget back on the display screen? Can I think about neck ties or penny loafers? I'd even prefer that thing where we work together to try and recall the opening monologue to Our Town like we did a few miles back. A little help. Please?"
BRAIN - "Screw that, bruh . . . stop running."
BODY - "Brain!"
BRAIN - "Nope. I'm done playing these games. You will stop running. Give in to me . . . and I'll let you think about anything else while we walk . . . er . . . resume running for these last 2.5 miles."
BODY - "Can we do this in a couple more miles? At least let me get through eleven?"
BRAIN - "Nope."
BODY - "Brain."
BRAIN - "No. Good day, sir."
BODY - (knocks on recently pulled down wooden panel) "Brain!"
BRAIN - (opens panel just enough to establish eye contact) "I. Said. Good. Day." (slams panel)
BODY ' "Fine. I'll do it on my own." (runs 10 more paces . . . stops running)

So . . . yeah . . . there you go.

My body (all the fat baggage of it) had nothing to do with my limp-finished run on Saturday morning. My complaining last week was all for nothing . . . I missed the bigger picture - at least with screaming calves I had some unity in mind and body. We had "resolve" going for us. No pain? No maintain (I don't know what that means either)?

So - a NEW challenge as I prepare for my THIRTEEN mile training run on Saturday - more crap to think about to keep my brain engaged. Leave your suggestions as a comment. I'll let you know how it all works out.