Tuesday, June 05, 2007

There ain't no cure for the post-race blues

Sunday I ran five miles.
Every step was a struggle.
I could barely maintain a 9-minute-mile pace when just a week ago I was running at 8:35 without much effort.
So what’s the difference?
One is that not sleeping as well as I should - two tiny girls have something to say about that for now - may be catching up to me.
Two is I gave blood a few days ago, and that’s literally robbing your system of oxygen. At sea level that’s a slight problem. At 5,000 feet that hurts.
Mostly, though, I’m suffering from something else.
We runners call it the post-race blues, and I think it pertains to my life, not just my running.
The Bolder/Boulder is a tough race, and my body is still feeling the effects of running hard for 50 minutes.
This, though, goes beyond effort.
Training for an event is a tricky thing when your main goal is to be fit for life. You start to see the race, the mountain, whatever, in your bathroom mirror in the morning. Skipping a workout doesn’t happen because of The Goal. You eat well, sleep well (if you can) and take care of yourself. You are focused.
And then the day comes, and then it’s over.
It’s impossible not to have a letdown.
I have other goals for the summer. I have Race for the Cure, a 5K, on July 4. I have another 10K, the Human Race, on July 28. I have several mountains I’ll be guiding this summer. But those goals are distant, and the sense of urgency isn’t there right now.
And that brings me to the twins.
A birth, especially this birth, was much like a race. We didn’t know the exact day, but we worked for it, and when it got here, we worked and worked and worked and ran and charged up hills and got up at 3 a.m. and changed a mountain of diapers.
And then, well, now we continue to do it.
Parenting doesn’t have a finish line. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any letdowns.
The girls have been so good, I’m nervously waiting for the other, Exorcist-like side, to come out. I’m wondering if they’re good only because Mom is here, and when she leaves, will chaos, instead of being kept on the sidelines, will charge off the bench. I’m wondering if I’ll be getting up at 3 a.m. for months, not weeks.
I’ve gotten an invitation to play a home game this weekend. I hope I can make it but I’m thinking I can’t. I haven’t had a good poker game with my buddies in at least a month. I haven’t even seen a movie with them. I miss them. I am wondering how long it will take for Kate to start to view our increasingly clingy and active toddler as Dennis the Menace and not our lovable little guy.
The grind, already, is getting to me a bit.
My poker game has reflected the post-race blues a bit, seesawing back and forth $25 up and down, and yet I still believe I’m playing well. I’m playing, I believe, better than ever, dumping two pairs and sets with abandon when its so obvious my opponent has drawn out on me (and that has happened FAR TOO MUCH lately). Yes, it’s possible my opponents are merely making moves on me, but this being $25 NL, I doubt it. You just don’t see it at that level. Every other time someone else has looked them up, they’ve got their third club or that made straight.
There are days when life gets drenched in the post-race blues. One thing I have learned.
It’s best to attempt to put on your running shoes, put the feet forward, and start churning away toward the next high.
So here I go.


Imma (Alice) said...

You are invited to visit Wordless Wednesday posts at my blog and at http://rebasrun.blogspot.com Two blogs celebrating Peace Globe day in the Blogosphere!

Peace to you and yours.

Stacie said...

Kate still lets you play poker? She is a better woman than I...