A Rough Patch

By: Kevin Irwin

Finally feeling well enough to start training in earnest, I started running with Aussie Scott’s group out of Rogue Cedar Park last week. I knew I might be pushing it a bit. Coming back from my injury, I really haven’t had enough time to build a base, so there’d be no strength behind whatever speed I could muster. But it was really about establishing accountability – a kick in the butt when I might otherwise be feeling weak-willed.

Okay then, I have zero expectations going into this. I can struggle through it – I’ve done it before. Besides, even if my volume and consistency took a nose dive early this year, Zilker Relays made me think I hadn’t lost too much.

Unfortunately, as they say, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy – or in this case, contact with reality. These past few weeks have been a lot tougher than I would’ve thought. Not just the workouts (that was totally expected), but even my easy runs. Where in the past, I’d bounced back, now I just bonked. Maybe I’m starting to understand how Grandpa Simpson felt:

Am I losing “it”? (Yes, the Rush song “Losing It” off of Signals is playing in my head as I write this.) After all, being past 40, the curve of my running potential is starting to bend downward. Is this a manifestation of this? I think I’m having a runner’s mid-life crisis! What to do? Let’s consider the words of a wise man – or in this case, Muppet.
An emphasis on “trying” expresses doubts about succeeding. By focusing on your doubts, you are expecting failure before starting. Not a particularly auspicious beginning for any undertaking. Rather, you should begin from confidence; focus on the task – on the now, not the future. You will succeed or you won’t. Deal with that consequence later.I have gone through the odd rough patch before. It happens to all runners. Maybe this is the rockiest, but there are plenty of mundane explanations for it. Namely, I’m probably in worse shape than I thought. There’s plenty of evidence of high-performance in the master’s age groups, so a precipitous crash is unlikely.

Running is a heavily mental sport. Worry won’t help here;  fear is the mind killer (you may now call me Muad’Dib). It just means I need to put my head down and keep working. While fast times are great, the feeling of accomplishment after nailing a workout is my favorite part.  That’s what I’m chasing. It’ll come.


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