I didn’t achieve my goal. Not yet at any rate. I ran 4.8ks on Friday morning and felt okay about not quite breaking through the five kilometres in thirty minutes barrier. It shits me but that’s why I’ll keep trying. Trying is the point, mostly. The aim of all these treadmill sessions is not to run five kilometres in thirty minutes but to get me working a little harder each day, extending the baseline exhaustion point, so I am strong enough to trek the Falklands without it being a question of crash or crash through. I am doing that.
Later, after the run, we (the Rustichello family) went camping in fairly challenging circumstances. We didn’t crash or crash through, we just did it and it was fun. Wet, wild and fun.
But having got home yesterday evening my endurance fell over and, even with one sleep of the dead under my belt, I woke to find myself this morning deep in Grumplestiltskin character: completely flat, emotionally needy and beaten by every obstacle. A nasty and mean little man who everyone wishes would bugger off back to his dwarven village and leave everyone else alone.
The literature of challenge, all those self improvement books and mags, is all about allowing oneself rest days, structuring energy expenditure and allowing for recovery. It sounds like a dead straight road to success, and I can see that in ideal circumstances it could be the right kind of system. In less systemic environments it also runs the risk of leaving the individual subject to that system being exhausted (or too close to being exhausted) at precisely the wrong moment. And in the course of Family life there is no good time to be exhausted, wrong moments abound.
When it gets to that point I’ve got to keep the balance between care of self and care of (beloved) others. I’ve got to accept that I am not intrinsically bouncy, I won’t be back to full strength straight away, and that in the process of growing stronger it will take longer for that growth to occur each time I extend the exhaustion baseline.
There is no speeding up time, it takes as long as it takes and real world interruptions are going to make that process feel really slow. If I am able to be patient with these then I will be stronger than I can demonstrate on the treadmill.