May 2, 2007

Artificial Distraction

Saturday morning I did a five mile run which I had spent a year preparing. The last time I ran this race, one year ago, I did very poorly, and was disappointed that my conditioning was not working, so I changed my routine. The change paid off. I managed to run my fastest five mile race ever, a personal record, and now I have a new time to beat, I was happy for a couple of hours.

Then, slowly, the darkness crept in. It was an attack of sadness. Why does this shit happen, even when I'm having a good time, for no reason. Was it that my goal had been met? Was it all the artificial distraction going on all around me, loud music, happy laughing people? Was my system being overloaded?

I have said before, my running helps these mood swings, but it is the long slow runs, not the races, that produce the endorphin highs for me which last for days. This race, and others, seem have the opposite effect, after an initial elation, the onset of sadness. Is it because I've depleted vital nutrients in my system? Is it the effect of my body recovering from a stressful event?

One of the reasons I do races, is not for the competition, but rather to socialize and meet others like myself, and to keep myself focused on healthy activities. It was supposed to eliminate this overwhelming heavy weight of sadness that I've experienced my whole life, and it usually does, but now this black dog was visiting me during the times when I was focused on activities to avoid it. I love the racing activities, if I could just avoid the depression that sometimes occur afterward. Will I keep racing if this darkness keeps finding me there?

So Saturday, I slipped away from all the artificial man-made festivities going on around Alabama this weekend, went into the back country to a small Mom-n-Pop motel that I frequent, did some hiking and avoided all humans and their mindless way of finding things to do. I try to participate in their artificial distractions, but it bores me.

I know I'm not alone, but the sheep just keep following other sheep for no other reason other than someone else is doing it.



Nancy said...

Good morning!

For no apparent reason sadness and negativity comes into my mind suddently and then the tears all for nothing. I can't explain it.

Probably cause I'm alone all day and I have too much time on my hands. When I'm at school, it doesn't happen, except during the weekends.

Although, I do enjoy being with my friends and talking up a storm, for me that helps! ;-)

I think when you have fit healthy ladies running along side you, it must be a little bit easier.

Moreover, with those thighs of yours, I'm sure they also enjoy the view! wink wink


angry ballerina said...

You know what helps my mood swings? Vodka. Lots of it.

Pam said...

My opinion - the races cause a spike in your feel-good neurotransmitters (serotonin, endorphins) and then you experience a crash afterwards (kinda like the let-down from a sugar high). The slower runs don't cause a dramatic spike.

I don't want to sound like an encyclopedia here, but both serotonin and endorphins respond to artificial highs. When your brain detects their presence, it may stop producing its own, temporarily. Some people are more sensitive to these changes than others.

I wouldn't say to stop doing the races, but instead to prepare mentally for the crash. Be sure your blood sugar is not crashing as well. I would avoid vodka though ;-).

Jocelyn said...

Congrats on the PR. Well earned, it sounds like.

The after-effects suck, eh? It sounds like a combination of physical and mental stuff. Would having something else exciting line up for post-race day help?

Or, since those long, slow runs have the greatest effect for you, maybe you need to move firmly into the world of ultras and start training for a 50K and then a Hundred! (sorry if you've already done this...I'm new to your blog)

supergirlest said...

just my cents... the hare had it right on. slower is better... could be the artificial distractions you speak of created a buzz kill, too... - where IS that post i came over here from AB's comments to read? MARIA! :)

azgoddess said...

ah yes -- the sheepeople with their suv's and tv's - designer jeans and plastic surgeons...

they will wake up -- and soon -- when their world starts crashing down

about your high high's and then low low's....St. John's wort

big hugs!!

angry ballerina said...

yes, i want DETAILS!

I think were gonna regret this one people....

BBC said...



I just walk five miles and observe all that I can. Sure some of it ticks me off but I accept that there is nothing I can do about it other than bitch, which I do. But I don't seem to get as depressed as you say you get.

We all know what is missing in your life but I wouldn't take any bets on you finding it.

I was talking to a lady and she said “I really want a husband, I just don’t want him in my home.” She doesn’t even want him in her bed….. WTF? What does she want a husband for then? She can get a cat or a dog. I guess she just wants one to do the yard work for her, wash her car, things like that. What I would want to know is “What’s in it for me?”

Not much, that is why I don't allow them to get very close anymore, todays women are just not worth the hassle. They don't make them like Grandma anymore. At least not enough of them to go around.

BadTux said...

Wrong animal.

It's monkeys all the way down. Complete with alpha males, hooting and howling and flinging feces at other troops of monkeys, and devoted followers of alpha males.

Monkeys. All the way down.

- Badtux the Monkey Penguin

Tootie the Über-tribble said...

I run every once in a while, but I don't like it much. I don't think I'm built for running, really...

choochoo said...

Ooops. Forgot to step out of tootie-mode there. Furballs don't run, that's a wellknown fact.

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