Don’t Lose Your Salt

So I found myself feeling discouraged because I had not made very good progress on my list of goals for the month of April. Some of these goals- like practice my bass every day- were so laughably behind schedule that I couldn’t make them happen if I’d wanted to. Others were goals predicated on other goals being finished first which would also never be within reach.

One of the few goals still within my reach was to do a 10 mile run in one day. My original intent was to build up to this with a formal and diligent training schedule, but that pretty much fell to pieces in the face of social obligations and laziness. It wasn’t completely beyond the realm of possibility, though: I could do six miles pretty handily and I had run ten miles in the past. In theory I knew that I could do it.

So this morning I set out to do so.

It was a cool and overcast morning which bode well: it would save me from having to wear sunglasses or put on sunscreen. The first three miles were uneventful except that I kept finding myself being tailed by other sidewalk users: first it was other runners, then a series of bikers. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable to have people behind me: doubly so considering that my running skorts had ridden up in an unforgiving way and I wasn’t prepared to put on a show for my erstwhile followers.

It was a relief to turn onto the bike path and away from traffic for a while. I managed to lose the bikers who had been following me and, after I was a prudent distance from the street I was able to rearrange my running gear.

I wasn’t planning to follow the bike path for long but it wasn’t long after I turned onto the next street before I had yet another bike-follower. By now my “running” was devolving into “jogging” and I was beginning to feel aching in my joints and burning on the soles of my feet.

I wish I could say that I finished strong and made it home on a second wind in that invigorating and largely pain-free runners high that I have heard so much about. There was no second wind- there was barely even a much-deflated first wind. My “jogging” had devolved to “walk-trot”. Emphasis on “walk” and really more of a stagger. But I did it and I was proud and after soaking my legs in the pool for ten minutes I was almost able to limp to my apartment without needing to lean on a wall.

Certainly I was sore and thirsty, but the real problem was that I had sweat out all of my salts and was having trouble staying focused. Even now that I’ve had time to eat and drink and rest a bit I am still more than a little bit scattered. I blame that on the salts too.

I think we need to adopt a new idiom into our language: “Don’t lose your salt.” It would mean “Don’t work so hard that you will be useless for the rest of the day” and could apply both to running and to any task that saps us of our resources.

Pace yourself. Don’t lose your salt.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 29, 2013.

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