This is going to be a photoless, humorless, really un-OUaL-like post. If it ever gets published. There’s a good chance it will just be one of those, pound it out on the keyboard, feel better, and delete it kind of things…
Let’s background the story with a quick summary of the events leading up to tonight :
- Bail on the track since no one else can make it and I’m not hard enough for 630am 400s solo.
- Feel guilty ALL. DAMN. DAY.
- Vow to run a hard tempo tonight to make up for it. Daydream about big half PRs and BQs as a reminder of why I do all this in the first place.
- Buy and eat a bag of candy corn while at CVS getting tampons (that’s a relevant point in the story) because you’re too busy catching up with your cross country best friend who just got engaged to let your conscience chime in and stop your fat ass from throwing them in your basket.
- Lay on the floor for an hour in a “ughhhh too much sugar” and “ughhhh too long till next Ohio trip” painful stupor. Pretend to be doing abs/stretching every time Brian looks over.
Ok, now we’re at the run. 1-4-1 tempo at 7:15, which I got close to before HTC and was amped to nail this time. But as you’d guess my ambitions had been shot with a sugar tranq gun and by the time I laced up I was not feeling it.
I stopped three times during the mile warm up (fucking candy corn). Took a breath and decided to aim for 3 tempo, and go for the 4th if I had it. No pressure.
My legs felt great – they locked into pace and turned over easily – but everything else felt like absolute shit. I had knives between my ribs, my head was pounding, and my breathing was all over the place.
Mile 1 clocked at 7:16, and a few steps after I pulled up to an abrupt stop.
Just stopped. Completely. For no reason.
Before I could even catch my breath I was choking back tears. What is happening?! The run wasn’t going great, but it was no reason to stop, and definitely no reason to cry. I tried to compose myself, or at least figure out wtf was wrong with my head, but it was just buzzing. Too many tangled loose wires, no way to sort them out.
I started walking back towards home, admitting tempo defeat, and as my breathing regulated and my eyes dried, things finally started clearing up a bit.
There’s nothing really wrong in my life. Life is actually pretty damn good. Family, stable jobs, strong relationships, health all around and many privileges I probably don’t deserve. We live in paradise, albeit very far from home, leading lives I consider us very lucky to have.
So what’s wrong? Jesus you spoiled brat what more do you want?
But I think that’s it – I don’t know! I have no fucking idea what I want. While I’m not necessarily UNHAPPY, I feel I’m falling short of a TRUE level of happiness. Where “things” don’t matter and you can just enjoy the life and people around you. Where a simple to-do list doesn’t bring you crumbling to your knees and a tough day at work doesn’t lead you straight to the bottle. Where you wake up EXCITED for what the day holds and the opportunities you have in front of you. Where a funny joke, loving glance, or your dog chasing his tail makes you grin ear-to-ear and your abs hurt from laughing so hard.
At Hood to Coast I met some amazing people – who truly love running, are genuinely grateful for their abilities, and find so much honest joy in life – it was inspiring but maddening at the same time. Talking with Lauren tonight brought those feelings back out front and center, and it finally just broke me.
I know this tempo wasn’t my epiphany or magical life-turning moment, but I can’t help but hear “darkest before the dawn” echoing in my head as I write this (debatable whether the vodka has anything to do with that). It’s time to sit down and have a stern talking to with myself – what’s important? what do I want to do? what makes me bounce-up-and-down, belly-laugh, proud-mama-bird HAPPY, and how can I make my world revolve around it?
Thanks for listening – this is all very rhetorical, therapeutic writing, and I promise it will be the last depressing “guts” post for a while. I can’t afford to be handing out Cymbalta prescriptions to every OUaL reader.