On days, off days

I had two great runs right after new years, but then last Friday, when I went for a run– nothing worked right. No energy, no forward push; my hips and arms couldn’t seem to get in sync with each other; twice I had to stop briefly and walk, something I’ve not done in months; I ran slower than usual and barely managed to finish my half hour run. No endorphin rush afterwards, either. I just sort of hobbled home actually feeling the time it took to get there–even though normally I barely feel those 10 to 15 minutes of cooldown, and enjoy them quite a bit, as they make for great thinking time after the push of running.

So, rational person that I am, was my first thought when I finally did get home to shrug and say, “Oh well, I just felt off today–nothing to worry about”? Of course not. Instead I thought dire thoughts about how whatever it was that had allowed me to run was broken, and about how maybe I wouldn’t ever be able to really enjoy doing this again.

Uh, yeah.

So anyway, it was with some trepidation that I went for a run again last night. I didn’t want to have another awful time, and more, I didn’t want to find out I really had somehow forgotten how to run or lost some crucial piece of what small running ability I had. I told myself I would try, though, and just sort of see what happened–no harm in that, and I could always walk instead. (I like walking. I actually probably put in more hours a week of walking than running overall.)

But it was fine. I fell quickly into a pace, and kept to comfortable jog for my entire half hour, and an extra five minutes beyond that, and could have gone further if I hadn’t known dinner was waiting back home. Everything clicked, and flowed, and all my worrying seemed pretty of silly. I left the track awash with the sort of general good feeling that comes after a good run.

Who knows why last night was different. Maybe it was that I tied my shoelaces differently, or that I took an extra puff on my inhaler for luck, or that I had some sort of low-level cold last week and this week had gotten over it. But it didn’t feel like any of those things–it felt completely random. Last week’s run wasn’t so great; last night’s was terrific. These things happen, and we can’t always fully control them.

Of course, I could replace “running” with “writing” above–or with most other things that involve repeated effort–and the words would still be true. Good days and bad days, and the trick is really just to remember not to make too much of the latter. The off days happen, and it’s not such a big deal, really, for all that it seems so at the time.

But then too, it’s of course easier to say it’s not a big deal with coming off of a good day then when coming off a bad one. 🙂

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