Accepting the Negativity

I think I’m a lot more clinical in my descriptions of workouts than most people who are into working out.

Yesterday’s workout, for example, felt as lousy as anything that Donald Trump happens to be looking at at the moment. I just felt weak and slow and tired and sore and blah. Today’s workout—my last long run before the Spartan on Saturday—was much the same; I did the distance I planned, but slow and every step felt bad.

I’m not saying this as a play for sympathy. It’s not even something that’s particularly traumatizing for me. A lot of my workouts feel lousy. At least once a week on average I finish thinking, “ugh.” It’s probably only once a week or so when a workout genuinely feels good. But those declarations aren’t self-judgments, even though they may come off that way. They are just statements of a very narrow (and, in its way, subjective) fact: how the workout felt. They are not reflections of whether or not the workout was worthwhile or effective or productive.

Horse's ass (not technically Donald Trump)

I was going to put a picture of Donald Trump here, but I really couldn’t force myself to do so. Incidentally, if you do a Google image search for horse’s ass, Trump comes up as the third alternative recommendation. Creative Commons image by Arsdelicata via Wikipedia.

It’s a way in which I’m weird. Or maybe that everyone else is. I mean, just because I’m blunt in my workout self-assessments, where lots of people like to post to social media incessantly about which dumbbells they crushed, which maneuvers they killed, and which kettlebells they flambéed, doesn’t mean that they’re right and I’m wrong. Maybe someday scientists will demonstrate that this kind of relentless positivity tinged by bragging is just a sign of a mind as corroded and demented as, well, Donald Trump.

I guess I wish that I sounded sincere rather than sarcastic when I try to give mid-workout encouragement as well. (Let me be clear: I am being sincere; it just sounds sarcastic.) I guess it’s just the auditory equivalent of racing bitch face that I personify.

There’s another bit of negativity that I embrace that isn’t a fishing expedition for encouragement. That’s the utter terror with which I’m looking to the Spartan Super on Saturday. The terror is, I think, not unjustified: The race should be roughly twice as long as a sprint, and the last one of those I did was 4 hours of mostly misery. So it’s not impossible that this one is going to be 8 hours of general wretchedness.

Let me be clear: I’m hoping it won’t, and I don’t think it will be. The course in Indy was upgefucked by weather, but Chicagoland has been mostly dry for a while, and should be for the rest of the week. Hot on race day, which is a concern but a bit less of one—I’d rather be forced to slow down by the heat than by the fact that no step will provide any grip whatsoever. So I’m hoping to be able to do the race in something like the 3 hours I think I’ve seen Spartan say is typical.

But while I hope that’s the case, and I think it’s reasonable to expect it, I also know that there is a chance that it will all go DoubleIndyWrong. To my mind, that’s a reasonable fear. It’s not affecting my actions, but it is something I know is feasible—so it’s affecting my expectations and my preparations. I’ve come to terms with the possibility of 8 miserable hours, so anything better than that will be a win.

When I say that it scares me, though, I’m not looking to be told that I can do it (I’m pretty sure that I can) or that it won’t be bad (since I know it might be). It’s genuinely just a clinical, non-valued assessment of the situation. So don’t be creeped out by it. I may be weird, but I’m okay.


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Filed under Running, Spartan Race, Training

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