There’s this little thing I do and I think I’m pretty good at it. I’ve alluded to it in the past and I’m going to recycle it for you now in longer form because repetition is what I do here. What would a blog be without a little recycling? F.M.S. has been around for 6 years (?!?) now talking about running, llamas, anti-coaching, and many other nonsensical subjects and I have to dress these posts up in new baubles, hats, shoes, nipple rings, tattoos and other accessories to keep things from drying up and you guys enjoying all the sparkly new accouterments. By year ten, this blog will look like Lisbeth Salander but without the anal rape. Or maybe with the anal rape. I go where the momentum takes me even if it’s anal rape. I’d prefer it not be anal rape because my Google bombing will bring a whole new, weird audience here of people searching for ‘anal rape’. The only thing I could do to make it worse is tie the whole thing to Betty White. Better not. Oops.
Today, I’m talking self soothing. When I’m on a harsh round of 800 repeats or particularly challenging limbo run, the heartbeat escalates; breathing becomes rapid and loud; day dreaming becomes deranged and psychotic haunted by the mysterious Zombie Llama. In short, all of the signs of exhaustion creep into my psyche threatening to submarine my remaining workout. Oh, it’s mental for sure. I’m a physical marvel so there is no way my body is trying to tell me anything of any value. I’m tiring physically but need to rally the mental troops to complete the run.
When these demotivational symptoms emerge, I call on the forces of my intellect to calm, soothe and restore order. I talked about disassociating my brain from my body before in this post. I usually start with a reaffirming pep talk. Something like, “You’re getting old, Nitmos, this used to be no problem. Why don’t we go home and sit in a rocker and watch Matlock?” Then, I take a few deep breaths and get the short, loud, huffy breaths under control. Believe me you can do it if you try. When I focus on my breathing and relaaaax, my breathing actually slows back under control. It's very obedient. Then, I remind my brain that my dumb ole body will just do what you tell it to do so stop listening to its talk back. Viola! What was once a rapidly sinking ship becomes a fully erect Nitmos cutting through his miles like a man on Viagra working his way through a pile of Scandinavian hookers.
It’s self soothing. It’s what a baby learns early on through hours of alone time in a dark room with nothing but his wailing scream, wet diaper, burst eye vein, and a few well placed strips of duct tape. They calm down eventually. Yes they do. And when they learn to self soothe, you have more time for your running as they’ll spend hours in a crib without any supervision whatsoever. (The More You Know.*)
I’ve been pretty successful about getting my own body back in line when things get a little ragged. I’ve learned what to think, how to breathe, how to adjust my pace momentarily to allow a short break and let everything sink back into alignment and then take off again. I’ve even used my technique on others. Not the anal rape (I won’t kiss and tell; I’m a gentleman).
I spectated a marathon my buddy was in a few years ago. At mile 20, he was looking like the Staggering Dead. He could only offer a gasped, pathetic “Hey” on the way by (which I thought was pretty rude considering I was out there cheering him on. How about a little pizzazz….a little zest!?). We talked about me pacing him through his last few miles so I was prepared (as I always am – I wear a racing singlet under everything I wear. I’m like Superman that way.) to jump into the marathon and help him through the final 6 miles. Considering that 1000 mile stare, jump in I did!
He was exhibiting all of the signs of a complete meltdown: staggered, inconsistent pace, droopy head, loud, rapid breathing like he was being auto-erotically asphyxiated.** It was time for me to do some soothing. Not the anal rape, would you forget about that already? I spoke calmly, steadily and with a series of oddly motivational encouragements. I suggested that he concentrate on his breathing and take some deeper, longer breaths. Frankly, his huffing was driving me nuts. It was like when I see someone having a severe asthma attack and, really, I just need to leave the room because otherwise I start breathing funny. Someone call 9-1-1, sheesh.
Then we found a consistent, slightly slower pace that he could manage and keep moving. We broke the race into small junks and celebrated those mileposts as they passed. We talked about his family at the finish and how happy they’d be to see him. I was like the Horse Whisperer. I even complimented his mane and tried to rub the bridge of his nose. He swatted me away but I think he was just being bashful.
He made it to the finish with his second best marathon time ever. I was so excited, I jumped on his back*** and yelled “Hi-ho, Silver!” but he was being pretty selfish and inconsiderate and collapsed to the ground. I guess finishing the marathon was all ab out "him". I would have put him down right there at the finish but a starter pistol doesn’t carry live rounds. It just makes a loud noise and returns shocked looks from the other finishers.
It appears I may be a bit of a Marathon Whisperer. I soothed myself on my 7.5 mile run yesterday as I limboed down from 7:14 beginning mile to a 6:18 pace. I’ve soothed others. It’s a proven technique. I’m available for hire for you too! I’ll whisper inspiring things, keep you moving, rub your snout, and climb on your back when the race is over and take you on a victory trot. I’ll do everything but the…well, you know.
Your expenses + my whispering = successful marathon.
**Or so I’m told.
*** Again, not for the anal rape. Give it up already.