Monday, February 16, 2015

Call Me Oedipus

And not because I've got Daddy issues.

Here's what I remember about my 9th grade English class:  My teacher's name was Ms. Bradley, with a heavy emphasis on the Mizzzzzzzzzzzz.  It was 1984 and feminism was still something of an oddity, especially among 14-year olds.  She was one of the toughest teachers I'd ever had, which means that I also learned a lot from her.  We wrote so many essays that year, I was never afraid of writing again.  I don't remember all of the books we read, but I do remember reading (and watching the movie) Oedipus Rex.  What I remember very specifically about that book was not necessarily the plot, but rather the concept of Greek heroes and how they frequently suffered from hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence), which inevitably led to their downfall.

I was thinking about that word a lot on yesterday's "long" run, which I ended up cutting short and doing more than a fair amount of walking.

Stalling the start of my run by taking a selfie in the window of my car.
I should have known before I even started that it wasn't going to be a great run, but damn if my pride would let me admit that I didn't have a 20-miler in me.  I mean, I have a race in just a few weeks and I gotta get in those miles, right?  Can't rearrange that training plan.  Can't re-think and re-assess when things aren't working.  Gotta power through.

Or, you know.  Not.

I actually spent all of last week arguing with myself.  On the plan, it was another build week.  Of course, on the plan, last weekend was "just" a half marathon that I hadn't intended to race as fast as I did.  So Rational Brain knew that I should have been in recovery mode, but Hubris Head was all, "Run more, run harder!"  As a result, my week was neither recovery nor build.  Not slow enough to recuperate and not hard enough to make gains.  Too many miles for cutback, too few to seem like a strong week.


Add to that a busy day on Saturday with traveling and fun (we did a little tour of CSU San Francisco and since we were in the City, we "had to" hunt down a ridiculously expensive t-shirt in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.  Because why wouldn't I drive around for an hour to go less than three miles?) but way too little water, and what do we have?  A recipe for disaster, that's what!

I'm going to say it again:  I should have known.  I have a long history of crapping out on runs when I'm dehydrated.  I have a long history of psyching myself out, too.  So chances were pretty good that yesterday was going to go south.

To distract myself from the misery of walking, I snapped a few shadow selfies.
But here's the good news about me not being a Greek hero:  the damage isn't permanent.  My ego is a little bruised, of course, but I will pick myself up and carry on with it.  No need to hang myself or gouge my eyes out from the tragedy of a bad run.  This week is the beginning of taper, and even though I didn't quite hit peak mileage, I would always rather go into a race slightly undertrained (or, you know, completely undertrained) than over-stressed.

Did you read Greek tragedies in high school?  How do you deal with a run that feels like a tragedy??


Marcia said...

For the life of me I cannot remember one single thing about 9th grade English. Social Studies? Ms Simone. Algebra? Mr Krohn. French Madame Georgiev. Science? Mr. Firak. Art: Mr Davis. Humanities: Fraulein Beck (yes Fraulein). English is a blank tragedy. Sorry your 20 was not what you wanted. I know you're saving all the goodness for the race.

Jim Weatherly said...

I know it's easier said than done (because I can never do it), but like you said, no need to get too down over one run ... or too high I suppose either. Sounds like we're the same age.

Laura said...

When I have a crappy run and start to go down the rabbit hole of how awful and unprepared I am, I try to remind myself that I actually improve the most when things are hardest. What I'm trying to say is it doesn't really matter what should or shouldn't have been on your plan or how well you did vs. your plan at this point. You had a hard run, therefore, you got better.

PahlaB said...

OMG, that is my new mantra!! I fucking love it!
Also? Funny that we are replying to each other's blogs at the exact same moment. :)

PahlaB said...

I'm so cracking up right now - I can't believe you remember all of your teachers' names! English was my favorite class, I think that's why it's so vivid. I'm not sure I even remember what other classes I took.
Thank you for your kind words! :)

PahlaB said...

That's why I love writing a blog - I know other runners totally get how I feel about flubbing a run. In the big picture, it's not a big deal, but we've all been there and can relate.

Laura said...

I totally thought the exact same thing about our perfect timing!

dion.middelkoop said...

I am Dion(ysus) The Greek God of wine...

PahlaB said...