Thursday, October 2, 2008

Beating the Goon

It’s been difficult keeping my focus positive the last few days (week). My mental Goon has been working overtime to try to keep me down, and I’m tired of fighting him. Part of it is work related, part of it is the juggling, part of it is the nervousness of Run for Congo Women, and part of it is the fact that I feel almost over-prepared for the Mission Bay Tri, especially since I just found out they changed the distances - and made them even shorter!

I’ve alluded to the work thing a couple of times, and since this is my biggest kill joy, I think (hope?) it will be cathartic to write out my frustration, so feel free to skip the whining!

Basically, I love my job. I love my work. I am very well compensated, I have a great boss, I get to work from home, I’m not curing cancer – basically I have nothing to complain about. I actually am really fascinated and enjoying the research into some of the deeper level of the unconscious and how it impacts decision making, which makes design even more fascinating to me. The problem is this: Six months ago they announced that there would be a re-organization, and there would be reduction in staff redundancies – and we literally haven’t heard a peep since then. As the only person in my organization who received an Exceptional rating on the most recent performance appraisal, I feel pretty confident that I will come away with a position. The problem is everyone who’s not confident (which is everyone else) has basically put a big bulls eye on my back, and spent the last six months arguing with me about absolutely every little teeny weeny thing, and it’s starting to get exhausting. Tell me, what does a green square with a checkmark mean to you? What about a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it? What about a red circle with an x? Well according to my five “peers” (who by the way have no official background/certification in design) these things are “hieroglyphics”, and they think there are “too many colors”. Well I’ve travelled the world, and these are all internationally understood symbols. I just have to fight against 5 Shit-for-Brains to try to get simple efficiencies added to my system, and it’s pissing me off. The good news is that in the future this won’t be the case. There will be one direction, and we’ll move forward without dragging 5 weights around. The bad news is that after six months of no discussion, I’m starting to think the future won’t be here until 2012!

This constant negativity that I’m receiving is creating a feeding ground for my mental Goon. You know, the guy in my head who tells me I can’t run for 90 minutes, or do sprints, or that it’s ridiculous to swim for 2400 meters, when my race is only 375. He tells me that I’m tired, that my legs hurt, that I have a race on Sunday so I should take it easy. Basically the Goon does everything he can to keep me fat, unhappy, and sleeping all hours of the day.

Generally I can fight him. I have tricks. I meditate before bed, and then visualize every single moment of the next morning, and how I’m going to “wake up at 4am refreshed, and ready to go”, get dressed, grab a granola bar, run out the door, go to the gym, start on the bike at level 5 for five minutes, etc etc etc. Generally this works well. For my scariest workouts on Thursdays, I remind myself that I “don’t make decisions while I’m sprinting”, and focus on positive self-talk while resting between sprints. Things like “I can run at 6.6. I’m capable. I have an iron will” that sort of thing. Lately though, none of this stuff is working.

Tuesday was a really tough day. We were told that the announcement was officially coming. There were all these rumors that went against everything I’ve heard to date, we were in full panic mode all day – just to find out that the announcement actually had ZERO information in it, but maybe they’ll have some specifics for us by around the end of October. I had a great practice at GOTR, but it ended on a bad note, and I was physically tired from having run 6.4 miles in the morning, and being out with the girls in the sun. As I was cleaning my bedroom, one of my dogs absolutely attacked the other – going for the kill. I went to bed, and got woken up several times, it was just a long day full of high anxiety. So I woke up Wednesday morning, and didn’t want to go swim. I just had no desire to swim at all. I forced myself to get up because it was weigh in day (no change, really glad I got up for that). I got in the pool and I swam half-heartedly for about 35 minutes, and then the Goon came up with a sneak assault- “Why the hell are you swimming for 90 minutes today? Your race isn’t even going to take you 10 minutes in the water. You could be sleeping right now.” And sadly enough, I had no counter-argument, so I got out of the pool, went home, and went back to bed for another two hours. He also convinced me to make chocolate chip pancakes when I woke up - and they were good.

Some days I struggle with listening to MYSELF, and listening to the GOON. Sometimes I can’t tell who’s talking. Is it me, really strung out and tired, and really needing some extra recovery? Or is it the Goon trying to make me lazy? Wednesday I couldn’t tell, and I frankly didn’t have the energy to fight with yet another negative attitude – even if it was my own.

Today I had a new plan to beat the Goon, who was forcefully telling me that I couldn’t do 2/2 sprints for 55 minutes, and run at 6.6 (I know, everyone else thinks this is a normal pace, but it’s really really fast for me). However, I knew I could do 1/3’s at that speed, and I would focus on my sprinting form instead of length of time. So ha! The Goon was unprepared for my tactical transition and confidence, so he let me be for once. I had a whole workout (biking 12.26 miles, and then running 3.79) without him. It was great! I wish I had thought of it last week...

Sometimes we need to balance between where we “should” be, what we “want” to be, and what we “can do” on a given day. It’s a tough balance, and sometimes we get too comfortable, or we get too strained. We need to learn how to listen to us (my calves are definitely tight) but not listen to the Goon (I maybe felt a twinge when I was getting out of the car). However, I think a little flexibility allowed me to be successful today, and even more important FEEL successful – even though I did less sprinting than last week. Today I beat the Goon by being willing to play the “I’m not feeling it game”, and I’m glad I was willing to get up and do something that still made me feel good.

1 comment:

  1. awesome thoughts, you're so honest and your posts inspire me to keep it up and do the best I can everyday!