I am not a pessimist.
To be a good runner one has to be an optimist. There is no possible way a pessimist can achieve success as a runner as there is a great amount of failure involved in one little success. To be able to overcome the failures and learn from them is the hallmark of any good athlete. These are also the traits of an optimist.
When I step on the track or into the trails of the park I am usually nervous about the effort that awaits me. There is always a touch of doubt about my abilities though a resolute belief not only in my ability but also the trajectory of my progress. When I am starting a workout it is with the inherent belief that even if I do not run fast on that day, I will run fast in the future. Every workout, easy run, core workout, restricted meal, early bedtime or skipped event is born from the optimism that I will be the best I can be on race day. When I get injured I think of it as rest and my body telling me to take it easy. When I am tired I think of the great quality training I must be getting to be in this state. When I am sore I think of the muscles rebuilding and getting stronger. When I am hungry I think of the hunger to win. I think of me winning. I know I will win. I am optimistic.
It is through years of training, with good results, that I have been able to hone my natural optimism. I can look at evidence or trends to come to a conclusion of what I can predict in the future. I know that a hard workout that is not quite as fast as I want it, can still lead to a fast race. I have seen hard work lead to improvement and I have confidence that this will happen again. When I analyze my personality I would define myself as a realist. I look at trends and outcomes. By following these trends and outcomes I am better able to think about the future and my personal expectations.
My friend called me a pessimist the other day in regards to my perception about my singleton status. My reply was that I am not a pessimist, quite the opposite. By nature of getting my hair cut, doing weights, caring about my 6 pack and ensuring I am in nice clothes I am optimistic I will run into someone to love at some point during every day. My mantra of 'always look good because you never know who you will run into!' rings of optimism. The fact that I have spent the last 10 years going on endless meaningless dates, trying online dating, joining gay organizations I have interest but no time for, volunteering despite the voice inside my head that screams NO!, and generally trying to date almost any moving thing would lead me to think I am either an optimist or totally insane.
As a realist I look at my past and try to find trends. When I comment that I do not believe I will ever have a partner or any meaningful romantic relationship it is not with flippancy or without long hard thought. It is with a heavy heart and disappointment that I come to this conclusion. The conclusion is based on years of disappointment. The conclusion is based on going to an event filled with gay men and not having one remotely attractive man show any interest in me. The conclusion is based on being introduced to a new man and not being able to even engage him in conversation. I can recall many a situation when I have tried to talk to someone in this city and the response has been an 'once up and down' and a walk away. I have crushed hard on people, only to have been crushed myself. If I look at the trend and where it has gone I can come to one conclusion. It will never happen.
I am still an optimist and I still dream I will fall in love, just as I dream I will run sub 30 minutes one day or even run internationally. When I lay in bed at night I think of my handsome boyfriend cheering as I shock the country and run a 2:13 marathon to qualify for the Olympics. I also dream about the disaster race I have trained all my life for only to fail, but to still have the arms of my handsome boyfriend to fall into. This is the optimist in me where I believe at my core that anything is possible if you work hard and focus. It is the realist in me that knows I will never run sub 30, I will never run a 2:13 marathon, and I may never fall in love.
Yesterday's long run was not good. It may have been the worst long run I have ever had. I had a terribly upset stomach and I had to stop after 24 minutes for fear of vomiting on the trail. I stopped a couple more times before my run was over. I only had one small barf thank goodness. My heel pain started to shoot and cause a lot of discomfort at the 30 minute mark thus prompting me to turn around and go home. It feels like my leg bone is crunching into my heel bone with every stride I take. My foot has been throbbing all day. The combination of illness and injury was more than my motivation could handle and I cut my run short. In total I was able to run 8 miles of misery. I guess this will be the beginning of my taper for the Scotia Half. I was going to try and make up my long run today but I am in too much pain. I am going to head to the pool this evening to pool run and stretch out a bit. I might also ice my legs in English Bay.
I am planning on hitting my tempo hard tomorrow regardless of my foot. I need to sharpen up for this weekend and I need one more confidence boosting workout. Tomorrow night will also be my last night doing sign in for the swim club. I am looking forward to a summer of long tempos on Tuesdays!