Monday, January 20, 2014

On Not Knowing Your Body (Day 20)

Walk - 3 miles, 55 minutes

A planned easy day that was nevertheless pleasant, as after early morning fog, the sun came out and frost on grass and on trees shimmered. 

That’s all I really have to say about today. The rest of the post is something I wrote last Sunday. My omnibus post of two days ago briefly mentioned that I ran but didn’t feel good but I had forgotten that I had already written an account of the day. That I wrote it and then could not be bothered to post it is indicative of how meh I felt.  I post it now as an example of how I don’t know my body very well. I thought it was just a bad day, I really did not know I was sickening. 

You don’t know why but you just don’t feel right. You can think of no good reason, you have no excuses to cling to. There is nothing to stop you feeling a bit down because everything else was right - you were well rested, and the weather was perfect, clear, still and crisp. The spirits should have been lifted and you should have been able to cruise. But it didn’t happen. As soon as you passed the warm up stage you just felt uncomfortable, harder than it should be, and not particularly enjoyable.
Some days are like this.
I remember the example of Joe Henderson who said that his training schedule was not fixed in stone, with such and such having to be done at a specific time. Instead  there was an overall structure but what happened on any particular day was in dictated by how he felt. He would run 1 mile and then know if he felt strong, if he didn’t he would cut it short.  In other words he did not see the point in fighting himself too much, nothing much would be gained. He tried to cut with the grain.
This is one of the mysteries of what we do. At what point do we know the difference between a bad day, when trying to do more is counterproductive, and that blah feeling which can be shaken off by a bit more endeavour. Joe Henderson might know after a mile but he has a lifetime of experience and knows his body well. More importantly he knows his inner desire is to want to run; he is not looking for excuses. For other it might be more difficult know exactly how we feel, nevertheless we all make decisions about how hard we push ourselves and how much we adhere to a preordained schedule.
Today I had planned to run 5 miles but cut it to three. Although it felt rubbish and was a struggle, nevertheless I felt quite good that hadn’t given up too early.
Some days are like this - but they just happen and all you can do is shrug and carry on.

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