better when tested

Ten days ago, I got a gift of a bottle of Pocari Sweat from a really nice person, which I took on the only training run I got done at that time. A little gesture can cultivate courage, as in, a wish again to find that ever-surprising abundance that nourishes but only in the everyday, which doesn't last forever, and can only be accessed by making something anew, investing effort yet again, something like the sign of being alive, day after day, this thing that we create that doesn't begin as something material but can materialise. The opposite of doubt. Doubt, that poison that comes from others through a look, through incomprehensibility over why something is to be pursued just for the sake of it; doubt from the internalised reason behind such thoughts: because who wants to find themselves astray, alone in a land of pipe dreams (where such are produced by opiates, so tragic)? Who, with a rational mind, can explain "for the sake of it"? Have courage, man! This is what I do for character building.
I don't seem to have a natural knack, and have no idea what I am doing half the time even as I try to figure out how to "train with purpose". Just half a year ago, I would run like I was doing the Snoopy dance, probably also simultaneously looking like Linus playing the piano, and now, I picked up Pfitz and speed work, obviously misguided, because everyone knows there's an "Advanced" in the title of Pfitz and Douglas' work. Look: little Snoopy in big shoes! But something happened, even if it was only one day and almost at the end of the training cycle, when it seemed as if sprinting was happeneing, and the phrase "lactate coming up" came to mind, together with the question of whether it was possible that this was really a literal thing, because it felt like it. How slow had I been going before, to never have felt that motion and that physical reaction? Anyhow, wow, adventure time.

All of these are fancy words to paint a picture of me keeping as earnestly with my training plan as obligations allowed (I missed two weeks in total, sadly one just recently, meant to be a peak week, that was beyond my control) - though, almost every other week had additional mileage, just because that is how I like it. Because of that unhappy week off, and a subsequent week with two long runs - have I mentioned how I like to go long?, my pace is now all over the place, but mostly back to what it used to be, before I gained speed. On the other hand, I feel like I am stronger (if not faster, does that even make sense?) and if my race weren't coming up, I think I would start to add in strength work, because it seems I've reached some level of adaptation. I have no idea what will happen in my race, even though I know I am supposed to be schooled in splits. That relationship to my running seems so abstract and far off to me, still. This could be in part due to the fact that GPS watches are prohibitively expensive where I live, so I run by effort and attempted tracking of cadence (like: "let's have the scenery go past even quicker now!") Like I said, this is an excercise in character building - the beloved phrase of slow pokes.
Except something has been built. I stand up straighter now. Something has begun to hack away at the levelling monument to low self esteem I had built inside myself for no good reason (I mean, I believe it when I tell my students: we all have something to contribute: that only we can give), and something is being raised up. The endless analysis that used to circle my brain like stock numbers at Times Square is now quiet. I see open spaces in my mind's eye as a truth that can be reached. So, this has all been worth it, though like everything it comes at a price, but as I also tell my students, the best things do have a price, but a price you will mostly be happy to pay, and that's the sign that a path is good, better when tested over time.

Brush: misprinted type.


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