The halfway point can be deceiving.
Recently, I touted the virtues of an out-and-back training course, but this style comes with its challenges as well. For one thing, when the scenery doesn't change, you have fewer distractions from any pain or discomfort you might find, the usual complaint against races that follow this format.
My bigger problem, however, is the halfway point. You finally get to that point as far from home as you'll get, and you have no choice but to go back. I usually get energized for a moment. I've made it this far, so I know I can make it that far in the other direction. There's a brief rush that propels me forward as though I can take on the world.
And then I hit the 60% mark. Between 60-80% of whatever I'm doing, I always start to get shaky. The first half is fresh and exciting, that midpoint such a great goal, but then I have to keep going, and of course, the back half is going to be more difficult, because you've got the collected weight of the first half pulling you down. On today's run, I was feeling it something fierce on way home. My quads were tightening up, and my calf started screaming. It's not until I hit that last 20%, when I can tell myself I'm almost done, that I can stop fighting my brain and just let my legs work. Today was just a harder run.
It's appropriate that this challenge occurred today, one day after the halfway point of my 30-day challenges. Since January 1st doesn't count, yesterday was day 15 of yoga and Janu-water. The first has been extremely rewarding, and the latter has been surprisingly difficult. Still, I've made it halfway, which should mean that it gets easier, right?
Well, no. Of course not. Because I start rehearsals for my next show on Wednesday, which is going to make it difficult to find time to complete yoga a challenge, and what's more, the show necessarily involves drinking things other than water. I still intend to hold to my plan as long as possible and at all times when not at rehearsal, but I recognize what an incredible challenge this is going to be. Until I hit that last week of the month (80%), things are going to be a little rough for me.
Recognizing this pattern is a big part of the solution. Just knowing that I approach all of my challenges this way helps me to rationalize and fight through that 20% where I start questioning why I'm doing any of this at all. The changes that I'm trying to make are not just for January, and I need to be able to hold over my healthy choices in the face of adversity. It's been great to have a little buffer to get my rhythm while I got started, but the real challenge starts now.
Of course, as of this morning, I've run more miles this month than in any month last year, so I have to think I'm heading in the right direction.
A good start to the second half.