Not a great start to the day. Got up with every intention of going for a run, thought about routes last night, and decided on something medium distance and not too taxing. When I woke I felt OK, but as I got ready I could feel my mind starting to play tricks.
By the time I got to the door to run, I could hear light rain, and was ready to call it. I'm fine getting caught I the rain, but starting a run in the rain has always been hard for me to do. None the less, off I went for my warm up. A few mins in, I can see the rain drops on my clothes and am already starting to put a downer on it... "I'm gonna get soaked", "I will get ill", "what if I slip and hurt myself".... Bollox!
Time to run. As soon as I got going, the thoughts changed to how short a route I could do, maybe just a few km's, regular 5k loop at best, being flat and simple. A mile in, having taken a different turn to force myself away from escape, and I am wondering am I going too fast, the audio prompt comes and its OK, I'm a little hit faster than planned but ok for this stage. But still I can't get doubt out of my head.
At this point I decided to give myself no choice, the answer was simple, go a way I am not familiar with, then I have to focus on other things rather than being on a route I know and having time with my thoughts. Next route split time, I need to go somewhere new, I choose left, and its straight towards a busy bus stop. Damnit, I just need to get past.
As I reach the bus stop, people are being phone zombies or plain selfish and standing all across the pavement, don't worry I will run in the road. As I pass I am over thinking and over reacting, I just need to get to the next corner and it's done with. I start thinking further up the route, a distraction from the negative thoughts I am having. Where do I go next, visualise the route, the next mile or two, where will they be?
OK, mile 3 clicks around, the pace is good, HR is steady and more importantly, my brain is calming down. My thoughts are sensible again now, not hanging on to doubts, I am a few miles in, I'm feeling good, and now I know I'm good for a bit longer. Out towards Beckenham, up what is quite a steep hill for me, pace is good, taking it easy, and into the park for some clean air and a moment of serenity.
On the back straight, heading back towards home, starting to feel accomplished, and feeling a more familiar sense of achievement now. But a little premature maybe, I'm still 2.5 miles from home, and now the temp is starting to drop and the wind is picking up too, brrrr. Under dressed a little today maybe.
As I reached Catford, I carried on visualising the rest of the route I was going to take, and looked forward to getting home, back to the warmth.
The last mile now, and I'm in a nice rhythm, not worrying about the pace, in fact from the last audio prompt I'm pretty happy with the pace all things considered. Reaching the finish point, as usual my picky mind perked up and insisted that I finish the run where I started, so that's another half mile to tag on the end of the run. Starting to feel it by this point, having done a 34 mile ride yesterday with hills and efforts, today's run was meant to be short and sweet. But the mind needs taming at times, so let's play along.
Finally the end, 7.4 miles done, feeling mentally relaxed and physically exhausted. Not to a point of discomfort, but I had definitely burnt off any excess energy I had.
I have often referred to how beneficial exercise is, especially for some people. Being able to turn off the mind for a bit, or at least distract it enough to calm down and get back to normal. Almost like a small child having a tantrum, distracted for a moment by a toy, et voilà, all is well again. In simple terms, that's how my mind can be at times. It's far from that simple, and some of the time it takes far more than a run or ride to make things well again.
But days like today remind me how delicate the balance is. And that sometimes I am not even aware of the drama going on inside the grey matter, not unti I feel better again. It was a little way into the run I realised I wasn't in a great place. And I kid you not, I spent about 15 mins thinking what I would name today's run on Strava. Over thinking at its finest. Eventually I went with "Over thinking, over whelming - overcome", as those were the 3 stages of state of mind during the hour and 15 mins of the run.
So there, that's my head cleared out of today's fun, hopefully I can sleep tonight now, and not dwell for too long on what has been a mentally tiring day.
Night all, thanks for reading.