Sunday, April 7, 2013

Business exhaustion + run exhaustion = redemption

Wheel of redemption
Today's run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

I thought that leaving my job might profoundly change my life. Actually, it has, but not exactly in the way that I expected. I'd imagined myself taking leisurely runs on the trail each morning, followed by a variety of activities that I've put off for years. Despite those expectations, my running schedule hasn't really changed. Highly anticipated activities, like returning to playing my classical guitar, have been put on hold. I may not be getting up at 3:30 AM anymore, but I'm working harder than ever.

Much of my attention has been diverted to a consulting practice that I recently started. Creating a business requires many steps, ranging from setting up legal and business resources, to selling services to clients. So far it's been energizing, but all the meetings, calls and proposals can wear you out. That became evident this morning when some work I was doing distracted me past my scheduled run time. After forcing myself to stop, I realized staring at web code for hours had given me a pounding headache. Instead of a run I felt like I needed a nap.

We were up late last night, but I'd found it impossible to sleep past 6:00 AM. I'd planned to go to Stillwell for a trail run. Soon enough, I started self-negotiating to shorter distances on local roads. The wind was blowing hard outside, further eroding my motivation to do my run. I started thinking about forgoing my workout altogether.

In the meantime, my wife who was similarly tired from our late night, had completed her workout and taken a shower. She said it made her feel better, although she felt her run was harder than usual. Inspired by her, I made my way to the guestroom to face the treadmill. I made no pretense that I'd make it a speedy run. This workout was far more about maintaining commitment than improving fitness and conditioning.

I started by running a pace that was 15% slower than usual, and stuck with it until the display showed one mile. From there, I began to increase the treadmill speed every couple of minutes. By the time I'd reached two miles, it was feeling like five. The experience of watching the readout slowly tick toward three miles was torturous, especially since I'd increased my speed to a relatively brisk pace by then.

Considering the short duration, I haven't had many runs that felt as hard. I was thrilled to kick down the speed after 3.1 miles for cool-down. Although I was wiped out, I was also energized, and my headache was gone. This workout felt like redemption and I was very pleased that I didn't skip my workout. On the downside, I realized that I'd failed to transfer my Fitbit to my running shorts so I didn't capture all those steps and distance. I may have lost all that data but I gained back some self esteem. 

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