Monday, April 27, 2009

The Power of Negative Thinking

How do I do this, over and over again? I convince myself that I can't run, that I'm out of shape, slow, useless. And then it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Yesterday's race was called Sean's Run, and it's a very inspirational event. A promising young man - great athlete, honor student, good and kind to all - was killed in a drunk driving accident. He was the passenger, and wasn't wearing a seatbelt. The driver had been caught driving drunk less than three weeks earlier, but there was no law on the books allowing his license to be revoked. After Sean's death, his parents decided to address both issues: seatbelt use in teens, and drunk driving laws. They succeeded in getting stricter laws passed to take drunk drivers off the road, and have done a great job in this area educating kids about the importance of buckling up (as the vast majority of teen deaths are a result of car accidents in which there was drinking, no belt use, or both.)

The race was scheduled after a bunch of preliminary events - a 1-mile fun run, an informational expo and the "Battle of the Belts." So the 5K didn't go off til after 1pm - normally not a problem on a mid-April day, but yesterday it was nearly 90 degrees by that time. (Or so it felt on the blacktop!)

Having gained a LOT of weight recently, and having done only my intense-but-short workouts for quite a few weeks, I wasn't feeling confident to begin with. The heat put me over the edge. I didn't want to go, didn't want to run, didn't want to do anything but putter around at home. (I've been working insane amounts of nights and weekends, and this counted as work since it was part of The Marathon Project.)

Somehow I made it to the starting line, figuring that wimping out would not count as good mentoring for all the teenagers in our program. And I felt OK - chugging along at what felt like a decent pace, not too many walk breaks. So it was a bit of a shock to hit the 1-mile mark at about 14 minutes. I wasn't running hard, but I wasn't taking it easy either. Oh well... what to do but carry on. I had plenty of water and nuun, and I was by no means alone -there were lots of other slowpokes on the course.

But as I got close to 2 miles, a woman leapt off the sidewalk and grabbed mee - she was with one of the other TMP groups and had come across one of our kids who'd gone down with overheating. He was moaning, semi-unresponsive (wouldn't tell anyone his name, wouldn't let them take his shirt off) and very frightened. Luckily I know him well and know his mother, who was out on the course behind me. The woman, and a paramedic who'd stopped to help, got him to lie down (eventually) and poured water on him. I took his shoes off and assured him his mom was on her way. A policeman stopped and called an ambulance. The boy was nauseaus and completely freaking out - every time they poured water on him he moaned that he was drowining.

All hail the good samaritians of this world - lots of people came out of their houses with cold water, gatorade and offers of help. The ambulance never arrived - turns out there was no EMT coverage for the race so they were called from a town quite a few miles away, and there were at least 5 other incidents on the course (including a man who crossed the finish line, started to shake, and would have hit the ground except that another man stepped in and grabbed him just in time.)

My little guy's mom arrived, hung out for a while til the policeman came back, and then got a ride with him to the starting line. I jogged back without finishing the course (there was probably a turnaround another quarter mile ahead of me) and found him in an ambulance at last, getting attended to. (He eventually went home with his mom and she told me later that he was feeling fine.)

It turned out that another one of our girls had a problem too: she is medically unable to sweat, so overheats very easily. Her parents were both there and kept an eye on her, whisking her into an air conditioned car as soon as she got too hot.

So I had an honorable DNF. Next week is the Sharon Classic. It will be much cooler, but I find it hard to imagine how I could run a decent 5 mile race after the weird spring I've had. I didn't run today (someone stopped in to see me just as I was heading out to meet the group) so I'll get one or two training runs in at most before the race. How can I start learning to think positively instead of so negatively?

Michelle asked how my new routine is going. I feel it's still too soon to tell. I want to stick with it for another full month before I render a verdict. But for anything to work at all, I have to get a grip on my eating. I am 15 pounds up from October and still going in the wrong direction. I feel awful.