Thursday, August 1, 2013

Running the Whining, Winding Trail

"Just keep swimming."-Dory

I generally keep busy. My choice, my pathology, my path. I cannot blame anyone else really. Usually it does not bother me, but being an introvert, I tend to need moments of solitude and quiet. Coding people, listening to the highly obnoxious beeping pager all day, and being chased around by people asking me to reword my documentation (which, as far as I know, never saved a life or made anyone feel any less sick) makes me feel like someone has their hands clamped around my thoracic aorta.
I chose this. I sometimes love it (not the documentation, pagers or codes--but the doctoring). But nothing makes me whine like one too many days in the hospital trenches. Which is kinda sad, given it is much worse to be in a hospital bed than running around the hospital with stethoscope and pager.

As I take a 2 day breather after a long haul of work days, it occurs to me why I am drawn to running, and why I am particularly drawn to long distances. It is probably the same reason people with more discipline than I sit and meditate for long periods. It is a turning off of the toxic. A turning off of the shouting voices of doom, the ones in the brain that are a special side affect of a life of luxury. When we do not have to worry about where our next meal comes from or how to find some clean water for the family, our brain is free to perseverate freely upon such things as:
*I will surely go to hell for eating that donut in the doctor's lounge.
*My teenagers might end up in my ER for making some stupid, impulsive choice, and maybe I should lock them in their rooms for the next 7 years.
*If I could just sleep in, life would be great.
*How many shifts will pay the bills without making me drop dead in the process?
*If my hair were longer would my elderly female patients stop calling me a handsome young man?

When carrying water is not filling our day, we get to think about what comes next. After pondering this important question for many moons, I have found myself settling upon an answer:


Originally, the ultra idea belonged to my friend Ellen. I mean, obviously people have been running ultra distances for eons, but E called me one day and suggested we do a 50 miler. So, I blame her for planting the seed in my susceptible brain.

I think ultras might be like working, and like childbirth, and like weeding, and like other hard stuff. If you think of the whole project ahead of you at once, you will be in the corner weeping and moaning. Best to take it in small pieces, in moments of time, and then practice mindfulness. You cannot really shut off the brain, but you can humor its doom-speak with a brief nod, then let it go. DO NOT ENGAGE THE VOICE OF DOOM.

Just keep on the path. Rest and eat a PB and J when you have to. Don't sweat the donut weakness. Wear your hair short. Hug the teenagers and "let us see what Squirt dose, flying solo."

Whine if you must. Then:

Run the winding trail.

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