Saturday, August 18, 2007

Beatitude? Attitude? Or just plain incertitude . . .

And you do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself about because, well everybody knows, "That's what it's all about!"

Okay, I have absolutely no idea "what it is all about" so the hokey pokey is the best I can come up with--right foot in, right foot out, left foot in, left foot out. Spin around. Sounds about right.

And while I am turning myself about and mulling over what's it is all about I get tidbits of advice and other's wise philosophies on how to manage the dizzying spin of the hokey pokey. My most recent advice was regarding expectation. I found, apropos that Alexander Pope has this to say about expectations:

'Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed' was the ninth beatitude.

Sigh, I guess I am not the blessed for I am always guilty of expectations. I am a person who craves certitude. I want absolutes and I expect too much and therefore am often angry, frustrated and disappointed. My expectations seldom met; certainty almost never found.

How to undo this? You just let it go? Well, that is what Lala says but me? Yeah, I don't know. I don't think I know how. I don't think I can but I am going to try, a little anyway, to expect less.

Yesterday Lala and I were conversing and she was advising me that I should not place expectations on anyone except of myself--and even those--the expectations I place on myself? I should lower. And only then, I will be happy. Mmm, kay. Right.

I, of course, have my doubts and need to weigh in on this a bit more. There is just too much unwrapping my mind has to do to get me completely around the idea of no expectations. I think there is a certain security in thinking you can expect things. Then again, it isn't real security if you find that in the end that you really couldn't expect things but, you know, prior to the let down you might have been feeling secure--- right? Sigh again, I don't know. I just think you should be able to have some expectation. But maybe I am confusing expectation with accountability and then we are just getting headier here than I intended. I am sure these ideas are married somehow but let's just focus on expectation and forget about culpability. This water is muddy enough for me; no need to dump more silt into it.

So I just think to have no expectations is to be a little more freewheeling and self-sufficient than I am comfortable with. And even if I really can't, I like to think I can count on some stuff to happen. Yeah, I know, that is the sure road to disappointment. Like I said, I need to work on it.

Anyway, Lala and I had this conversation before I headed out for my first long run in almost 2 months. And it wasn't a true long run but for August, it was long. My plan was simple: I needed to bring back the 2 hour run. In another few weeks I will add the weekly 3 hour run.

A 2 hour run isn't generally an issue for me but in August it is and particularly lately as I have been bonking after about an hour. I am having some dehydration/fueling issues. Still trying to determine which it is. Leaning towards dehydration though.

I decided that my long run would be the prefect time to unburden myself.

I also decided, since I was dealing with the evil triad of heat, hills, and humidity to make things a little easier on myself. I couldn't do anything about the heat and humidity so I took the hills out of the equation and, per Lala's advice on the simplest level, I took out expectations. Well, I still had one expectation: to be able to run for 2 hours. You've got to be able to expect something or how else do you know where to start? Where do you aim? Ugh! Sigh. I'm just not getting it.

I went down to the river and parked my car in the middle of the course. The temperature was already in the low 80's and it was muggy as hell. I ran out one way for about 45 minutes. I stopped at my car and had a crank gel and lots of water. The water sloshed in my tummy for about a half mile but then I was comfortable enough and picked the pace back up. Around the 10 mile mark I started to feel crappy-- as has been my body's habit of late-- but by the 11th mile I rebounded and finished fairly solid for a total of 14 miles in an hour and 59 minutes. Screw that last minute-- it was 88 degrees and I was done.

Last fall I was easily getting 15 miles in 2 hours and that was on a hilly course but since my only expectation was to run for 2 hours I am happy with my effort. So Lala might have something there but then again I also think that if I keep up the low expectations that I might not be challenging myself and that would ultimately make me more disappointed than not meeting my expectations.

At any rate I am pleased with efforts this week:
Sunday: Triathlon; 400y swim, 13 mile bike, 5k
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 10 mile run--no time
Wednesday: 10 mile run in the am--no time. 35 minute swim in the afternoon (I am guessing between 1600-1800 meters)
Thursday: 30 mile bike ride
Friday: 14 mile run--1 hour 59 minutes
Saturday: 4 miles on the treadmill--29 minutes 51 seconds.

Week end totals:
Run: 41 miles
Bike: 43 miles
Swim: 2000 meters give or take a hundred


  1. Those who don't reach for the stars will never fly :-) Nothing wrong with setting the bar a little higher than you can make it, as long as you are happy, I say. You are right, the humidity was something else. I didn't get to work until noon, and I hate working until 6 or 7 oclock at night.

    I saw some of those cranks at the Big Peach Running store on Saturday. Might have to give those a try sometime. Glad to see you are still mixing it up and cross training!! A tri cannot live off running alone :-)

  2. I'm glad that you took the gel and water with you. With the weather here, it's hard not to run out of fuel or liquid or both. Even at the river, which is flat, it is HOT. The asphalt is blazing. Maybe consider (a) a belt with drink in/on it, (2) stashing your water at various places on your route, or (3) stopping for the water fountains at the parks (or the sinks, whichever).

  3. It is okay to have expections for yourself (we did discuss this) it's just other people you need to lower the expectation thing and one day you'll realize you're pretty happy with everyone around you. That way you can disappoint yourself and consider how to do better, or if it really matters anyway; but other people will never be a disappointment. Then you won't be so mad all the time. Love mama

  4. Nat, you can expect anything of yourself, but it is foolish to expect things from others. That being said, if they aren't giving you what you expect FOR yourself, you can always write them off.

    Except for family. You are stuck with them, and therein lies the Expectation Dilemma (trademark).

  5. Maybe if we can all lower our expectations and become more shallow we'll be happy? Reminds me of the scene in Woody Allen's movie "Annie Hall":

    Alvy: You look like a really happy couple? Are you?
    Woman: Yeah.
    Alvy: Yeah? So how to you count for it?
    Woman: I am very shallow and empty, and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.
    Man: And I'm exactly the same way.
    Alvy: I see. That's very interesting. So you managed to work out something?
    Man: Right!

  6. Shallow is good-Lala loves shallow! Less monsters lurking there.

  7. Nice job on your log run especially with all the heat and humidity. You did real good!

    I always try to set my goals high and I try to encourage others to reach theirs. Are goals and expectations the same? Even if they aren't I guess expectations and goals go hand in hand. Yes there can be disappointment when expectations are not reached, but it's a wonderful feeling when it does.