I came home from rehearsal in a funk last night. We're two weeks from opening and all of our nerves are a little strained. That's perfectly normal. I should be used to it. But for some reason, I was edgy when I walked in the door. The house was filled with psychic noise. The back porch was filled with junk from the old house that needs to be sorted and mostly thrown away. The den was blocked off to keep the dogs out because they had gotten out in the rain and soaked one another in mud. The TV was playing. The washer and dryer were running. The broadband connection was down. I felt bombarded. So I did what any mentally healthy would-be athlete would do... I began eating garbage.
Let's see if I can remember all of it. Two crab salad sandwiches. Chips and cheese dip. Several glasses of lemonade. Half a pint of Hagen-Daz Rum Raisin. A glass of milk. A sleeve of ancient Thin Mints. Oh, and of course, I sat up watching TV until 3:00 in the morning. Sometimes I think it would be simpler to be a drug addict. This morning, I stepped on the scale. I was two pounds heavier than yesterday morning. Two pounds. That's a week's work washed away in an avalanche of sugar and salt.
So what was that all about? I don't know, a whole bunch of things, I guess. Brother's brave battle with cancer. Mrs P's struggles to keep up at work. The impending closing on the old house and the necessity to vacate asap. Dwindling savings. Self doubts about the play. I missed my run yesterday. And of course, the chaotic environment when I got home last night. It all adds up. A couple of miles on the road would probably have cleared my noisy mind, but it was dark and rainy, and I was still a little spooked by Sunday's tumble and redneck encounter. So I made a whole bunch of bad choices, and woke up to the consequences.
Even as I was stuffing poison into my mouth, I was remembering the bad old days before my cancer, when food was my only comfort, my hiding place. Eating soothed me, all 400 pounds of me. I would crunch away my problems and swallow my pain. It was a cowardly kind of suicide, but it was the way I chose. I suppose it's a positive sign that this time I recognized my behavior for what it was: an attempt to bury my worries with my drug of choice. It didn't help. And I woke up feeling ashamed of myself for backsliding into behavior that I was sure I had put behind me.
So, I went for a run.
I had a two miler scheduled, and I intended to press my pace. Now there was even more reason to work hard. I had toxins to sweat out. I decided to jog instead of walking my 30 second breaks. I wanted to see if I could keep up the pace without slowing down to a walk. I ran my first mile in 11:09, faster than I have ever gone before. I felt strong and clean. As I started the long climb at the beginning of mile 2, I realized that I wasn't running to get rid of fat and sugar, I was running to sweat out the shame. The realization spurred me on. During each 3 minute run interval, I pressed to increase my turnover, moving my feet faster and faster without breaking form by over-striding or bobbing up and down. During each 30 second jog break, I tried to glide, slowing down with each step to a pace just barely faster than a walk. I glanced at my watch a couple of times, but couldn't work the math in my head. I felt like I was covering a lot of pavement, but really couldn't tell how fast I was going. I didn't know until I got home that I had run the second mile in 10:59, shaving 10 seconds off of the personal best I had just set a few minutes before. Then I ran the last .6 miles at a 10:38/mile pace. The cool down felt fantastic. I had run reverse splits, each one faster than I had ever run before. My binge had not ruined me. I had not undone all my hard work. I had made a self-destructive choice, recognized it, and changed course. I had no reason to be ashamed.
Now, let's see about putting that back porch in order.
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