Upon reading Andy Jones-Wilkins post last Friday on iRunfar detailing the ever-present battle between the head and the heart when it comes to running, it made me more cognizant of the conversation between my head and heart lately. I thought I'd provide some of the transcript here to support his post.
Back story - Right around Earth Day I messed up my left foot and it's still giving me trouble. Strangely it's the same injury I experienced at the exact time last year, so I've treated it the same. I've run very little, and just when I thought it was good about two weeks out, I ran on it and relapsed, thus the following conversation (and yes, the dialogue in my head is oftentimes this cheesy):
Head: So smart guy, ya just had to run the trails in Ely this weekend, didn't you, and now you're paying for it...again.
Heart: I needed to run to keep my sanity, and besides, the dog needed exercise as well.
Head: So now you're back where you started, limping and unable to run, and there's only two weeks until your first 50km. The farthest you've run in your training has been 14.5 miles on the road, and the longest run you've done has only been 2 hours and 15 minutes, compared to at least 6 hours that you'll spend on trail at the race, and on top of all that, in minimalist shoes! What's the plan, big guy?
Heart: The race is an adventure, with more of a focus on joy and exploration than anything else. If I have to hike a good chunk of it, so be it! I'll have a lovely day on the trail amongst cool people, doing something that will bring me a great sense of accomplishment. Nothin better than that!
Head: We're talkin 30 miles! That's more than a "lovely day on the trail." And if you injure yourself more, maybe a full-on stress fracture, or a fall because you're mechanics will be compromised, what then?
Heart: Ever the pessimist. My fitness is still solid, and there's nothing saying that I can't bike or work out to maintain what I have. I'll stay off my foot, and a good two weeks should be plenty to let it heal. Should I have trouble in the race, I'll either turn around at the first AS and do the 25km, or DNF. I could use a total failure to learn a lesson, but it will at least be a positive one.
Head: What if the lesson is that you completely screw your training for the 50-miler next fall, your ultimate goal of over two years! Will that be worth it?
Heart: I think perhaps you're underestimating my grit...and also my intelligence.
Head: Intelligence? That's what I'm here for! You're pure id, plain and simple, and in any case, grit and stubbornness aren't enough for 50km with so many factors stacked against you as they are at the moment. You're just asking for trouble.
Heart: Just keep running...just keep running...
Head: Well the plan has been shot to hell: no long day training adventures on trail as planned, a complete shortfall of distance training, not to mention the longest winter EVER! There's no trustworthy plan from here on out.
Heart: You're just not thinking outside the box, Mr. Curmudgeon. My plan is to explore the unknown, have an adventure, find joy and have fun on the trail, and learn something from it. I love it when a plan comes together! And besides, there is one guarantee.
Head: Yeah? What's that?
Heart: Post-race beer, a decadent meal, and a hot tub with good friends to celebrate another adventure!
Head: I do like beer.