Saturday, 9 March 2013

Symposium on Failure

Last week's running aspirations did not really pan out as I'd hoped. It went thus...
Sunday night's 18ish miles made me feel I really had a jump on the running week as far as distance was concerned. Which was just as well, it was going to be a busy week. I had the usual Monday things plus a meeting with my placement manager which I had to write up later. Tuesday I was starting a new job. I was delighted about the new job but still all Monday night I had the feeling that something was sitting on my stomach. The horror of the new. I didn't really sleep.

Tuesday went fine but it was a long day and I had a thumping headache by the end of it. Still I had to catch up on my reading for university the next day. It was a kind of potted history of homosexuality. Quite interesting. I slept better.

Wednesday the filthy weather had come as promised. I'd hoped to do some kind of speed work in the morning before university and had sought advice from Willie Jarvie for ideas about new work-outs to do. Willie gave me some suggestions but they would need a bit of thought and planning so I set them aside for when life is less tight. As there was a nasty easterly blowing I ran to the far end of Portobello Prom into the wind and then ran 3 mins hard, 2 mins easy X 5 on the way back and then jogged the rest. As I've mentioned before, when you set the 310XT Garmin to do intervals, you don't see any of your data; speed or heart-rate, so I had no idea what "hard" was til I got home and uploaded the session onto the computer. The best I managed was 8 minute miles. I was a bit fed up about that. I've run a whole bloody marathon at an average pace quicker than that, how can that be the best that I can squeeze out for 3 minutes?

I didn't get in from uni until 8.30pm or so. Peter got in from running club shortly afterwards. We ate and it was time for bed. I was going in for work early the next day as they have a meeting early on Thursday mornings. The day went fine again, but being new I am still trying to get my head round things so it's still an odd kind of hard work. Hard work that produces nothing. To others it might have looked like I was just sitting on my ass and following other people around.... I got home and I was just going to relax but there was nothing for tea so I went to Tesco's instead and then while Peter was cooking I did more course work. I won't bore you with the details but I have to write about a whole variety of facets of my experience in placement as a trainee counsellor. There is a section on difference and diversity that just brings me to a full stop. I don't know what it is about it. I feel like writing "Everybody is a bit different and it's good to be aware of it. I find if I listen to what people say rather than assuming I already know what they think I am more likely to grasp their reality." I feel patronised by the question and I feel that in even writing about diversity I am being patronising and that it requires generalising in an unhelpful way. I wrote some pish and moved on.
Then I woke up in the middle of the night from 2.30am until 4.30am thinking about it.
I also realised, while I was having a good middle of the night think, that my weekly mileage was only standing at 25 miles. I hatched a plan to come home from work on Friday and run 15 miles. It was an ugly plan born of desperation.

Friday morning I wasn't too bright. Not at all keen to be awake. Work went fine. I was a bit of a spare part but hopefully I'm absorbing things and will soon become useful. Probably as soon as I take some responsibility for something. I've been through this process before.

Peter was going off on a "bad boys weekend" which consisted of getting a train to Milngavie on Friday morning, meeting up with a lot of Carnethies, running 26 ish miles along the WHW and then staying the night somewhere and then running back the next day. So when I got home from work the flat was cold and empty, the dishes were unwashed, I had the prospect of my 15 mile run, I was tired, my head ached. I went to bed for a sleep. When I got back up, after writing a little more about diversity I listened to the wind blowing the rain against the side of the building and looking out into the dark acknowledged to myself - "there's no way in hell I'm going out in that." So there we had it.

I microwaved my tea and while I was at it had a glass or two of red and surfed around on the computer, sitting in my pyjamas. I googled failure and discovered it wasn't as bad as I thought - just the "state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective". Is that so bad? I also listened to some guy on TED talks going on about how trial and error is a better way of finding out what works than slavishly following a theory. Not that relevant really but I listened to it anyway. My running goals for the week were rather ill-defined. I just meant to run "more". Then I remembered that there was a bottle of champagne in the fridge. A gift from my last boss. I had had one glass out of it and then used one of Peter's collection of port corks to re-cork it. A symbol for my life at present. All the celebration is corked up. No time for it!

I don't usually drink much these days and I will often stop at one glass of wine because I don't want any more. The red wine had gone down fine though and I found I wanted some of my champagne. There was still plenty of fizz in it and the cork came out with a good healthy bang. One glass. Delicious. Then I found I was hungry so ended up having 6 rice-cakes and marmite and another glass of champagne. I was now in binge drinking territory, sitting in my pyjamas, surfing on the net, listening to the smug sounds of Classic Fm. Rock and roll.

So last night I slept well and deeply. Today I ran 10 miles round the seat, feeling a bit hot and billious but otherwise fine. I think tomorrow, if the nasty easterly persists I'll have to get a train to North Berwick and run home. What puts me off are the last 8 miles or so from the Pans into the city. Things get progressively uglier.

Only 35 miles for the week anyway. Not really enough for Highland Fling Training. I don't know how I'm going to get much more done though unless "they" improve the weather. Or maybe I can take some annual leave or something and rack up more miles. If you've read all this, well done.

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