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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Know When to Fold 'Em

I can play three pretty good hours of poker.

The problem is, I usually play four-hour games.

It's been a while since I've sat around a poker table. It used to be a fairly regular occurrence, back in my college days. We'd get together with some beer and a buddy's carefully-guarded chip set and spend hours trading one another's money back and forth. At some point in the game, I'd usually get ahead, playing very conservatively through the first couple hours and making my move when the moment was right. And then, unless I was able to get lucky with another big hand right away, I'd start my downward spiral.

As Kenny Rogers says, you've got to know when to walk away and know when to run. In poker, I don't. In running, however, I'm learning.

Yesterday, I decided it was not a day for me to run. My calf had been acting up on the 13-miler I did on Sunday, and throughout the rest of the day, it was fairly well on fire. I stretched, rested, and did all the things I'm supposed to do, but as I was heading to bed, I told myself that when I put my feet on the ground the next morning, if I had any concerns about my calf, I would not run.

The next morning came, and I could have run. I'm sure of it. Tuesday is a rest day anyway, so I would still have gotten a day without too much wear and tear. Still, I knew it wasn't 100%. I knew that I've been running very well the last few weeks and I'm ahead of the pace required for my January mileage goal. And most importantly, I knew that thinking you're ready before you are is the best way to give yourself a long-term injury that requires weeks, not days, to heal. Plus, I was really tired, so I decided not to run.

Unfortunately, I also decided that I did not want to do my yoga that morning. It was a 35-minute video, one of the longest in the 30 day challenge, and I just did not have the motivation after a night of fitful and sporadic sleep. Instead, I sat around doing nothing for an hour or so, and then got ready for work.

This is not the way to start a week. Every email with any bad news irritated me to high heaven. I could not focus. I didn't want to do anything. Quite frankly, anything that required any motivation from me was done without joy or drive. By doing nothing at all first thing in the morning, I set up my day to model that behavior. While I did a lot, I don't feel like I accomplished anything at all. Until, that is, I got home and did my yoga.

Even my wife commented on how focused I seemed during the practice (and how straight I'm managing to keep my back). There's something very centering about yoga that I really enjoy. While I don't think I'll stick to 7 days a week when February rolls around, I do still want to keep it as part of my fitness lifestyle, so I'll have to figure out the best way to do that. Today's yoga was similarly empowering, hence my ability to write a blog post before the sun's even up. I still didn't run, because it's a planned rest day, but I'm feeling much stronger and more positive than yesterday.

This morning, I'm all in.

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