If I only had a brain, Part 2
So the alarm went off at 4:40 am and while I can’t express how happy I am to be training for another marathon, I’ve definitely hit That Point in the process. I despise the marimba ring tone of my iPhone alarm. Apple needs a ring tone that says, “Ok, then, sorry about this, but you’re the one who set the alarm, not me, and now you need to get up.” Preferably Mr. Roger’s voice; there is no way I could say “eff you, Mr. Rogers.” I have a Pavlovian reaction to the ring; cringing, heart pounding, slammed out of a deep sleep by the marimba. Thank God for some multi-flavored chemical laden, artificially sweetened and creamed K-cup steaming in my coffee cup; I’m up but basically making my way through the house by bouncing from one wall to the other in a (mainly) forward direction.
I have also definitely hit the point in marathon training where Taco Bell Fourth Meal happens about 12-1pm as opposed to the midnight-1am (younger!) crowd the campaign originally targeted. The other day I had lasagna at 9am after already having breakfast. I did at least warm it but then stood at the counter eating it directly from the casserole. NOMNOMNOM. Yesterday: breakfast followed by a cranberry bagel with egg and bacon (yes), then a really lousy salad followed by a nap which was celebrated by death by chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and caramel followed by another nap. I made dinner at 4pm. Then what do you do? It’s 4:30, you’ve slept for two hours, you’ve eaten five times, you’re too tired to fold laundry and you still have daylight remaining, and after about three hours of Yard Crashers you’ve pretty much seen the best TV has to offer. I’m thinking I may pay for HBO since I’m never going to finish reading Game of Thrones.
The other day while scarfing down one of my multitudinous meals I was reading Runner’s World. Sometimes I read the newspaper, it depends. It depends mostly on how much I feel like screaming. Reading the newspaper is like taking algebra so you can grow up and work from home typing stuff; you know it’s good for you for some reason but you don’t actually ever apply it in your life and it makes you feel like screaming the entire time you’re doing it. I always read the editorial section first, it’s like eating all the Brussels sprouts first so you can have the meatloaf second and enjoy it while also getting that awful taste out of your mouth. Plus when I read the paper I yell, making the cats run away and causing Murphy to skulk guiltily. Anyway, I was reading Runner’s World which is nothing like eating Brussels sprouts, it’s more like Three Guys Pizza Pies. And also it doesn’t cause me to yell, making all the animals happier.
In this article (Beyond the Mantra by Michelle Hamilton, May, 2012 issue, I cannot find a link, sorry) the author visited with a sports psychologist and implemented his suggestions in her running. It’s taken me about 98% of my life to truly understand that what drives everything in life is not what is happening to and around me, but how/what I think about it. The Brain. That little wrinkled up thing in our heads drives everything. We ‘think’ what’s wrong is that our leg hurts, or the boss is an ass (which, none of my 15 bosses is an ass, let us be clear on this) or that our spouse cannot see the dishwasher which is apparently invisible. Then we feel like screaming after 20+ years of seeing their dirty dishes in the sink TWO FEET FROM THE DISHWASHER (meanwhile the poor spouse just wants to avoid putting dishes in the dishwasher which may – or may not – have clean dishes in it; he doesn’t know and can’t figure out, since this is a secret hidden from men from the beginning of time. He knows if he puts dirty ones in with the clean he will get The Look and The Sigh. His brain is screaming, DON’T MESS IT UP!! I CAN’T NOT MESS IT UP!! IT’S A TRAP!)
Not that I’m upset about the empty dishwasher and the full sink.
Basically, as the author notes and as my counselor noted, you think: you live. Talking to my counselor was the first time I heard the word catastrophizer. I thought she’d made it up just for me, but I found it later in a book. You can look it up, it’s a personality subself. If it can go wrong it will. Spectacularly. If it can’t go wrong it still will. Or it could. So we’d better think about every possible outcome to every possible situation.
3:45 am Brain 1: OMG OMG OMG. No, wait, it’s just the effing alarm, nothing is on fire.
3:45:01am Brain 1: OMG OMG OMG is it raining???
3:45:02am Brain 2: OhhhEmmmGeee. So what if it is, we’ll get wet?
3:45:03am Brain 1: We could get CHAFED
3:45:04am Brain 2: Yes, that has certainly never happened.
3:45:05am Brain 1: We won’t be able to see the Garmin clearly! Our glasses will fog!
3:45:06am Brain 2: Ok, you’re right. We’ve definitely got a world crisis here.
It’s the words you think. For so much of my life I tried to change the way I felt. I’m so sad because I can’t go to the party (don’t feel sad! don’t feel sad!). I’m so mad because that email was mean (quit being mad! quit being mad!) You can’t. It’s like slamming your finger in the door. Don’t hurt, finger! Don’t hurt, finger! How about, “Rats, that hurts. Need to get some ice.”
This morning I realized that I still doubt myself. I still doubt I’ll get the marathon done. My friend Elizabeth asked why I would worry about that. She said if nothing else, you’ll walk it in. And it occurred to me that I didn’t actually think of that as an option – but of course it is. Somewhere in my brain I either finish the marathon or … what? Teleport back to the car? Get caught up to Oz? Life instantly ends? It’s like, in my mind, there is a marathon stretching out on a road with a finish line, and I either reach the finish line or fall off the road into oblivion. Maybe I end up wherever the Coyote ended up when he fell off the cliffs, I’m not sure. I’ve already talked with my coach and we have my A, B and C plans, none of which have either the teleportation or falling off cliff option listed.
Think about it. Spend a day listening to what you say in your mind. How many things do you think you’ve missed or not tried because you talked yourself out of them before you could even start? I’m starting that marathon, and I’m finishing it. No matter what Brain 1 and Brain 2 think.