All hail Apollo!

If you’re confused by the title, Apollo is the Greek God of music (amongst other things).

You may be more confused by the fact that this is a post about running since Hermes not Apollo was the God of sport (amongst other things). I swear, this is gonna make sense.

Week 8 of Couch to 5K kind of sucked. It’s supposed to be a 28 minute run but… yeah, things went awry. There are some reasons for this.

  1. Week 7 was a bit hard going. 25 minutes seemed to be mentally and physically taxing in a way that other increases weren’t. I completed the week but for the first time didn’t feel like I’d conquered it before moving to the next. It didn’t feel like it got any more comfortable.
  2. Since I was away for a few days on business I wasn’t able to start it immediately.
  3. On the day I was due to restart the typhoon outside kind of put paid to that, so further delay.

By the time I managed to actually start I was rested too long after a week which I was already not happy with. It was still blowing a gale when I went out; that really did not help. I did not feel great about it and physically I was clearly having a bad day. The resulting run was only 24 minutes long and that includes a 60 second walk break around the fifteen minute mark because I was just too puffed out. Not only did I not make it to the week 8 goal, I didn’t make it to week 7’s.

By any logical assessment that’s a pretty minor and very easily dismissed blip in the process. Various things out of my control happened to extend the break between runs. It was all of 2 minutes dropped. This really was no biggie. Sometimes you simply have a bad run! Mentally however it came at exactly the wrong time and that was a bit of a bitch, especially needing the pause. It made 28 minutes seem further away than ever and even 25 like it was still a hurdle to overcome. Hardly a reason to throw in the towel and jack it all in, but the last thing an already exercise-averse person needs!

I spent a good deal of my spare time today wondering how to approach tonight’s run. Did I try again for 28? Did I go back to 25? If I did that then should I only do it the once to restart my momentum or redo week 7 completely? What was going to be best to rebuild my confidence? It wasn’t the physical exertion so much as my mindset I was bothered about, trying to avoid psyching myself out.

These are the situations in which it is not good to be an overthinker. Overthinking = indecision, FYI.

Eventually I decided not to decide anything. I ditched the podcast so I wouldn’t have any idea about times. I put on my ‘I need to feel good’ playlist, set it to shuffle, and made a commitment to myself that I was going to extend my usual route slightly (ie. I was going to go a bit further up one side of the road before turning around and coming back down the other!). It wasn’t much but it was an extension. I mentally promised that I would only look at my time once I had completed the run and that so long as it was over 25 minutes I would have acquitted myself. I wasn’t going to worry if it wasn’t 28. What will be will be, either way I would still have pushed myself further. That was the best compromise I could come up with.

So how does Apollo God of Music (and the sun and poetry and medicine and yet more stuff) come into it? Well, mostly because I don’t think they had a Greek God of iPod shuffle settings. I don’t know what divine power was conspiring to aid me in my quest today but dude it has perfect timing.

Just when I was starting to get weary  – I’m guessing it was somewhere around 20 minutes –  my iPod decides to play When The Going Gets Tough. Next as I’m starting the home stretch it goes into Aphrodite by Kylie Minogue, which apart from being pop perfection is also quite a ‘go girl’ kind of song. I then hit my finishing line just as the first chorus of Gold by the mighty Spandau Ballet started. I seriously picked up pace for that last burst, I tell you.

And when I checked my time? 28 minutes, for the God damn WIN. What’s more I reckon I probably still had another 2 in me and could have even hit the half hour (though that’s next week). I am crediting the music entirely for this, and the result was a great run precisely when it was psychologically imperative to have one.

Cheers for the assist Apollo. I needed that. Now if you could work on the whole sun thing because the South of England could use a little heat, ta. We got some water needs drying out…

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