On Sundays I often run a 9 mile route through the hills and valleys of San Francisco. There’s a spot at the end of mile 8, after I’ve crested the highest hill and I’m running downwards, where I have tripped up –literally and figuratively– several times. Once I fell hard enough to tear my sweats. Another time I hit a curb wrong and twisted my ankle. And today I nearly ran through a red light into an oncoming car.
I think what happens at that point in the run is that I begin to feel so strong and powerful, I begin to sense that I’m closing in on the finish, and I have a sort of euphoric ‘wow I’ve done it again’ feeling, that I temporarily lose a little of my cautionary sense. Temporary insanity, if you will.
On Friday, I went to get my official weight and was amazed and delighted to see that I had reached my lowest point in 18 months, almost a half pound UNDER my personal goal. But Friday was also my last day at my old job, and I was going through a lot of emotions that day. In addition, there have been a few things simmering on the home front that I’ve been working through that have felt rather stressful.
As a result, I overate on Friday, and on Saturday it was a virtual free-for-all. Twice during the weekend I ate so much that I felt a little ill, but I wanted to keep on going. As a result, when I hopped on the scale for a little reality check today, the number wasn’t pretty.
I think these two scenarios have a lot in common. For one thing, there is a sense of accomplishment and strength that I get when I’ve reached a goal which is so powerful that it can blind me a little. For another thing, they demonstrate that sometimes we can keep stumbling (literally) over the same blocks, even when we think we’ve ‘changed for good.’
My favorite definition of insanity is ‘repeating the same experiment over and over but expecting different results.’ And in fact, this is apparently what’s been going on. I know from the past that I’m most likely to trip after I’ve peaked the highest hill.
For my running route, I’m going to have to consider changing the particular segment where I keep losing it. Perhaps adding a little unfamiliar territory will keep me awake.
As for my goal weight and eating habits, I’m not so sure. I know that despite my good intentions and my desire to ‘be cured’ that I’ll always have to be careful around food and emotions.
In the meantime, I’m going to do what I always do at mile 8. I’m going to pick myself up, dust myself off, scan carefully in both directions, and keep going.