Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 Streak Day 275 (Wed Oct 5th): Attitude

2011 Streak Day 275 (Wed Oct 5th):Walk 3 miles, Time 1hr, Weather - Overcast but warmish, the evening was windy

Still not feeling tip tip so there is no desire to do anything energetic. A walk for a cup of coffee and then back is good enough.
I wrote a short time ago about following the exercises in Mindfulness. Today there is one sentence from the book that is the focus of my attention; "The spirit in which you do something is often as important as the act itself."
It is the conclusion the authors drew from a study which set two groups of students were set the same problem of navigating a mouse through a maze but for one group the mouse was rewarded with a nice lump of cheese, whilst for the others he had to escape from being eaten by an owl. Both groups completed in about the same time but afterwards they were given a seemingly unrelated task that measured their creativity. The group who had to flee danger performed significantly worse. In other words the mental tension experienced by the aversion group carried over and inhibited subsequent thinking.
This lesson may be most obviously directed at the way we approach work but it applies to everything else, especially the things we do for recreation. If we become completely results/task orientated, augmented by a fear of failure, then we risk misunderstanding the word 'recreation' and losing the mental freshness, creativity and fun it is meant to give.
With running it is very easy to slip down this slope because we all (mostly compulsively) track times, pace and perhaps other data such as heart rate and cadence.  This is both a virtue and a danger. It is a virtue because we know exactly how well we are doing and our current capabilities but danger because if we do not like the figures we might judge ourselves too harshly. Instead of each run being a celebration of activity it offers further proof of not being quite up to it.
The right attitude is key.
At the moment all my stats are going backwards. I can either grimly grit my teeth and engage in a desperate battle against ageing or recognise that I am where I am and find contentment in that.
The choice is obvious: I have to let go and accept I am slower. But not accept too much. 
I still need to keep trying.

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