Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coping Mechanisms

Running is a fickle little beast. Sometimes things don't pan out quite as expected even when it was all going so gosh darn well. Perhaps a wrench got thrown into the otherwise flawless preparations. For some reason (that I don't know yet) it appears to have been decided that there needs to be just one decent obstacle going into this much-anticipated race coming up in Lexington next weekend. You know, because where would the excitement be otherwise? Training by itself would just be too easy I guess. So in times like these, you've got to be innovative. Such is the case at the moment going into Club Cross, which I look forward to more than any other race the entire year, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let my little mishap be an excuse to not kick some ass next weekend. If Joanie Samuelson had gone into the 1984 Olympics with preconceived ideas that she wasn't on top of her game, she might be sans one gold medal and we'd be minus one pretty epic story in the running history books. A good reminder to NEVER count yourself out no matter what.
In any case, I'd be lying if I didn't admit to barely reining in the panic right now, but since that only makes matters worse and makes a mountain out of a molehill, which I'm really adept at doing anyway, it's time to bust out the old Coping Mechanisms. Normally, running is my all-time favorite one, but if that's not going so swell and the comforting routine of training gets a little bit broken up, sometimes you need alternatives to restore confidence. That said, my favorite coping mechanisms, in no particular order, are as follows:
#1) This Blog: There's a reason why like 85% of the posts on this stupid thing are mine. When you are an emotionally constipated introvert, you need some kind of catharsis--especially in times of stress--to avoid becoming a homicidal maniac.
#2) Pool-running (really frikkin' hard): Or any other form of cross-training for that matter. Some people might argue that it doesn't do anything, I disagree. Even if some physiology guru makes the same claim, I say they're full of it. This one serves a dual purpose in that not only does it augment what normal training is already being done, but killing yourself in a swimming pool for a couple of hours is like a nice little shot of mental Novocain.
#3) The recently developed Lauren Fleshman "There Is No Future" Coping Mechanism (and my new favorite): "Pretending there is no future is a f*%@ing awesome coping mechanism. You should try it! It essentially melts fear. 'What if I get last?' loses its meaning. The only reason getting last is scary is because of what it means after the race. If last place truly is your best effort, and your best effort is what you are aiming for, then you win even when you lose."
#4) Drowning Myself in (possibly delusional) Optimism: This will be amazing. This will be spectacular. This will be whatever I decide to make it be, and I've decided to make it kickass.
Okay, I feel marginally better now. I've been chanting a cutesy little mantra in my head on every run lately: "Just-get-to-the-line-and-you'll-be-fine." A little over a week from now (when hopefully the manly-looking women's Club XC trophy is safely restored in its rightful home at the BRC) I'll probably be wondering what the heck I was so worried about. Till next time, keep calm and ROCK ON.

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