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Live Through This And You Won't Look Back.

On Friday night, I got together with Tish for drinks and to catch up. She'd been to WisCon the previous weekend, and I wanted to hear all about it. (Hopefully next year I'll be able to go?)

At one point, I talked about how I've done the 5-mile run a few times now, but it's still hard as hell, and more often than not I'll try to run that in an hour, and just fall off 15 or 20 minutes in. I'm lacking the energy, and I just can't do it. This especially happens when I'm trying to run in the morning, as by nature I'm not a morning person and my body seemingly isn't set up for that - but due to the particulars of my schedule, it's far more conducive for me to work out in the morning than at night. So I've been going online, looking for help and advice on how to have morning energy, how to really wake myself up, and how to hopefully have what I need to be able to make it through the whole 5 miles when attempted, and not fail out. And, knowing how much amazing progress she's made with this sort of thing - and how hideously, massively early she has to get up if she wants to exercise before beginning her work day - I wondered if she had any advice or suggestions too.

And she did, but it wasn't what I expected. She didn't have particular advice on the energy or wakefulness component. Intead, what she said was that when I'm feeling like I have to stop running, and I'm feeling like I'm going to die ... I have to just push through it. That whether she's running 5 miles or 20 - because that's seriously the level she's at - it's always the first 2-3 miles that are the worst. (In serendipitous timing, nothinfinah confirmed the same in a post earlier that same day.)

I thought about it for a second, and had to admit it made sense to me. After all, that feeling of "oh my god I want to die I can't do this"...? It's not actually (entirely) physical. My feet and legs aren't sending me shooting pains. My heart and lungs aren't about to explode. What I'm feeling then is the psychological torment of physical stress. And that means it can be overcome. That means it really is all about willpower.

The next day I went to the gym and proceeded to have the most intense workout of my life. I'd been (surprise!) lifting 100 lbs for a few weeks, and noted as I began that it was starting to seem a bit easier. So I added a third set of 10 reps onto my regimen, and succeeded at nearly all of them! (Being sure to keep the heart rate up between sets, so as to get the full "circuit training" effect.) By the time I was done, I felt exhausted, and wiped, but strong in mind and body.

Then, feeling ambitious ... I decided to try a run. Even though adding a 5 mile run at the end of intense weight training hadn't worked for me before. But I got on the treadmill, gave myself a 5-minute warmup walk, and then ... took off. Letting the pumping music in my ears push me further and farther, giving me an occasional boost forward when needed. I'd selected one of the treadmills at the front, as I often do, and was amused to see through the gym's large full-length windows the many attendees of Mayfest below me gathered and binge-drinking enormous quantities of beer.

And yes, it was hard. Especially after a full workout routine already. Especially at the 15 minute mark. The 25 minute mark. But I kept on pushing forward. I kept on pushing through.

"Live through this, and you won't look back" is a great line from a great song: "Your Ex-Lover is Dead", from the Stars 2004 album Set Yourself On Fire. The lyrics are beautiful and evocative, the music is alternately poignant and thrilling ... and having for the first time sought out the music video, I can confirm that's just as gorgeous too. It's an amazing opening track to an album that impressed all of us at the time with how fantastic it was - and honestly, it's a dizzying peak their subsequent albums never again quite reached.

(I will also always remember the comment a fan shouted as Torquil began to play the song the first time we saw them, at The Empty Bottle: "MELODICAS RULE!" Yes. Yes, they do.)

"Live through this, and you won't look back." It's a sentiment that moved me the first time I heard it, and one I've taken advice from, or strength from, in any number of wildly different situations over the years.

Well, it looks like I've found one more applicable use! And when my feet are pounding those steps, and I don't know if I can do it, if I have it in me ... I'll endeavor to keep that in mind.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
as a complete aside, clearly tish and i need to meet!
Jun. 2nd, 2014 09:27 pm (UTC)
I've been convinced of that for awhile now. :D
Jun. 2nd, 2014 11:20 pm (UTC)
I may not be a total morning person, but I find some of my best runs are done first thing in the morning, on an empty (or relatively empty) stomach.
Jun. 2nd, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
I've read (and been told) that a small bit of carbs - like a slice of toast & jam - can be useful first thing, since your body has used up its stores overnight. But I suspect that the low-energy question might just be something where I'm always having to fight against my body's natural inclinations. (While continuing to find effective ways to address my sometimes sleep issues...)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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