Since I stopped using my mobility scooter after 15 years in September 2009 I have made a lot of progress with my health. Running is my passion and as someone at Toastmasters the other night highlighted, my addiction. It was claimed in my friend’s speech that running gives 4 times the “buzz” that cocaine does. I haven’t looked this up but I certainly love running and don’t like it when I don’t go for a run.
I don’t run with anyone so my running is very much based against time. Another toastmaster friend also does barefoot running and he runs purely for fun. It made me consider why I like to time my runs and for me it is about watching my progress. If I don’t see that I am improving or facing challenges I am missing out on some praise I could be giving myself. Running for me is the driver that is making it easier for me to move forward with my ME or Chronic Fatigue syndrome. I have had this illness since 1994. Physically now I am in great shape. I can enjoy life. Mentally however I am still improving (notice the way I phrase that. It gives forward momentum even if I feel I have been stuck for a while). Often by 9am I am aware I need to sleep or recharge as I prefer to think of it now. This is quite a new pattern for me and I am able to push on till midday but if I need to do mental work I will often recharge in order to maximise my capabilities. If I push through my work is often poor. Not that I have any basis for proving this claim. Perhaps it is actually OK. However instead of walking along a flat surface it feels like I am walking up a 1 in 3 hill. When I recharge I loose time but it is easier to push on.
As is usual for one of my blogs the direction of this one is not where I first intended it so I will get back to my original point. As I run against the clock I notice some days I am poor. I have been through a period of two months where my best time went from 20:10 to 18:18 after being stuck for about 1 year. This inspired me greatly. It made me realise I must have had limitations in my thinking.
After that period I was stuck again. I was running and sometimes I could get down to 18:20 but other days I was as slow as 19:00 again (I always took consolation that this slow time was so much faster than an old personal best (PB)). It has been my goal for about 2 years to run around Mersea Island which is about 13 miles and prove to myself I can no longer have ME. I was getting close to being ready to do it and then winter set in. Then I had knee problems. Then I got frustrated that my dog keeps waking the house if I go for a longer run without her. Now I am experimenting to see how far she can run but winter is setting in again.
Once the whether started turning my running became slower. I blamed the wind being strong on the top of a field. I blamed the fact I had run a long distance. I blamed the cold. Some days my legs just were not there. But equally other days I think “perhaps I will have a slow run today” and then I get going and I run well. The big thing I have found with running is that my self judgement is awful.
Last Sunday I went for a run about 5pm. Normally, it is as soon as I get up. It was kind of a bonus run as I had intended having a day off after a long run the day before. The dog needed a walk and I decided as I fancied a run we might as well go for a quick run. I figured I would just do a short route so I set off assuming I was going to run 1.5 miles and not 2.5. My phone reads off my time and distance every 3 minutes. The distance is unreliable but I am getting used to my check marks. And I noticed I was much further down my route than expected so at the point of no return 6 minutes in I decided to run my 2.5mile route instead. My legs felt so good and I ended up with a new PB of 18:10. This was despite wind on the top field. Was it because I had had a couple of biscuits? Was it because I didn’t like not running that morning? Was it because I was resting most of the day and then had a hypnotherapy session and now had physical energy to burn?
Life is far too complex to decide. There are so many factors that could have influenced my speed.
This morning I set of with some speed again and hit the same 3minute check mark. I was good at 6 minutes too. Then at 9 and 12 I started to wonder if I wasn’t up to speed. At 15 I knew it wouldn’t be a new PB but pushed hard. I expected to see 18:20 at the end and then when I stopped it was 18:39. I was stunned. I had no idea what had happened. Again my mind can come up with plenty of reasons. Perhaps I didn’t push hard enough between 9-15mins. I was running in half light. I had trouble deciding a route through some fellow dog walkers because some dogs were on a lead and some were not. Perhaps I just wasn’t able to keep going today.
What is certain is I will never know what the factors were for today. It is not possible to redo the day with exactly the same conditions and vary just one possibility. We all get hunches. We have theories but we don’t know.
You can train to pigeons to tap a target in order to get a seed. We can put the pigeon in a cage with a random seed dropper and the pigeon will try taping the target. The pigeon realises something is different in this cage and starts trying to work it out. It can end up doing strange things like turning around in a circle and then tapping the target. If it happens to work once or twice the pigeon starts to believe that is the answer.
This is why footballers can have lucky pants.
I wore a St Christopher from the age of 14 until I lost my last one just over a year ago. When I first lost one I wasn’t too bothered about St Christopher not protecting me when traveling and then something happened (that I have long forgotten) and I decide I better get another St Christopher to protect me. I probably broke my chain another 3 times after that and I always rushed to get another. Last year I thought to myself “how stupid, I am a hypnotherapist, I know what is going on. I can live without a St Christopher” and didn’t wear it. For days I found myself playing with the chain that wasn’t there but eventually I have forgotten about that dependency.
I can’t help being amused by the idea that writing this might get me “jinxed” and then have people saying “see I told you, St Christopher does protect you. You should have worn it”. But even if it was the case I would still argue that I was fine for a year and no one knows when my time is up.
When we have fears and phobias when we believe someone has done something bad to us on purpose (Road rage is a great case) we would all be better if we thought “I can guess what happened but the chances are it is more complex than I can perceive. I will therefore just to believe a case that is in my best interest”. Since any theory we come up with might or might not be right and it is probably a case that is less likely than the one we first think off why choose ones that annoy us, frustrate us, hinder our ability to move forward? Why not just think what solution is best for me and if it is conceivable work on that assumption? If someone really did want to annoy you and you are positive and happy or respond nicely to them it will make you feel good and it will baffle them. Perhaps it will even inspire them to follow your model.