Most of my weekend days involve this kind of pattern:
- Wake up super early to feed cats so they will shut up
- Go back to bed and try to fall back asleep, toss and turn due to cat meowing, husband snoring, etc.
- Get up considerably later than planned, due to tossing and turning
- Go out and get a latte
- Drink latte and fart around at home, mentally planning that I’ll start getting ready for my run at X:XX, then do certain other tasks after I run (clean my house, visit my grandparents, etc.)
- X:XX comes and goes with no progress toward getting ready to run
- Several alternate deadlines come and go, with me both stressing about not running but unwilling to do anything to alleviate this stress
- I finally get out running, 1-3 hours later than planned, failing to do other tasks (note: I do not flake out on visiting my grandparents once I’ve actually arranged to come over. I’m not that big of a jerk.)
That’s a terrible pattern, especially on long run days. Long runs give me a lot of anxiety, because they’re long. In time, not in distance. Sometimes I’m putting in 4+ hours, and that’s not including travel time. It’s one of the worst parts about being slow. You’d think I would just get it over with, but I guess I don’t think that way.
I knew today was going to be rainy, so I let go of all this stress for once. I slept in as late as I wanted to, and I didn’t feel guilty about wasting my day. When I was growing up (and into my early 20s), I would stay up really late and then sleep ridiculously late. At first I didn’t care if I got up at 1 or 2 in the afternoon (or later), but then as I got older and missed out on the day and felt crummy and dehydrated by the time I got up, it started to be a problem. (Especially in college, when it caused friction with my roommates.) I eventually broke myself of the habit and try to avoid sleeping in too late, but it still happens every once in awhile, and when it does, it bothers me once I’ve gotten up. Not today. I told myself, you deserve this. I needed to catch up on my sleep debt.
I got up, screwed around watching Roseanne and The Golden Girls while consuming my version of kryptonite, Chex Mix, and eventually got on the treadmill for 7 miles of torture (while watching old episodes of Game of Thrones). But even that was awesome in a way – I didn’t have to gear myself up to leave the house. I didn’t have to drive 20 minutes to a trail. I didn’t have to put on a shirt. I didn’t have to go to the bathroom six times before I started my run. I didn’t have to check the weather and wait for a window of opportunity (there was none, it rained virtually nonstop for several hours – I feel so fortunate it was just a normal rain, compared to what my colleagues in Houston are going through) I just went downstairs and turned on the machine.
So there it was, a (mostly) guilt-free day, with no plans, no expectations, and no forced timeline. If I can’t give myself a physical break from training right now (one week to vacation!), at least I was able to ease the mental load a bit.
Also, wow do I ever envy people who just get out there and run, without thinking it to death.