Monday, June 12, 2017

And now for something completely different...

I’ve actually been quite busy. It’s been quite a discovery that the law of conservation of energy does not apply to human energy. I used to think that the more you do, the more tired you feel, but it turns out that some activities are much more energizing than others – in fact paradoxically, the more energy you invest in them, it seems, the more you get back.

I'm still training, of course. I say "of course" because you as the reader know that, but I was never quite sure I would continue to train if I had no goals to achieve. I thought I would give the Madrid Marathon a go, so I signed up at the last minute. I waited to see how I felt when I woke up on the day, before deciding to head down to the start, where I bumped into a couple of English guys. As there was a Half Marathon running in parallel, they asked me if I was running the Marathon. They looked a bit baffled when I said "I think so" so I had to explain that I wasn't sure if I was going to run the full distance until I got there. I literally took it kilometer by kilometer and only started to notice the suffering coming on after 35 of these had gone by. I remember thinking "Uh oh, my foot is hurting and I've still got 7 kilometers to go… This can only get worse… It will be insufferable… I might as well stop now and save myself all the pain". Then I thought "Hang on a minute, this is silly. There's no need to catastrophize by living all the future pain in one go. Right now it may be annoying but it's also OK and I'm not about to injure myself, so I'll just take it one step at a time". It reminded me of the very first race I ever did, over the boat race course in a coxed four at the age of 15: I told myself "Just 10 more strokes then I’m definitely stopping!" over and over again. Of all the Marathons I have finished (11 to date), this was the one I was second most proud of having completed, in a time of 3:25 which was neither pushing the pace, nor boring. The best thing was that I did it of the back of my unspecific training of about 30 minutes of easy running a day, with the exception of one long run I did in the mountains of Asturias to test my legs.

I've started to take this Mindfulness lark a lot more seriously because it has helped me enormously in all spheres of my life. I’ve trained to become an instructor and have started to give classes to other people and, so far, the results are very encouraging. If you are interested in seeing what I am up to these days, have a look at my new webpage: "Attention Coach – training the attention muscle!".