Inputs v. Outputs

I’m training to run a 100 mile race this coming September and doing so obviously demands a lot of training. I’ve got a fair amount of fear of this run. Fear of what? Failing I guess, the pain that will come, injury, nausea, causing my crew strife etc. That fear, which is of no value, is driving me to train and maybe to excess at this fairly early stage. Last week I completed my longest weekly distance and largest amount of vertical at ~110 km and 5400 m respectively. This was fuelled by that fear but also desire to run with friends and my overarching need for wilderness which becomes an addiction in its own right. As these last weeks have passed, my hunger for food has ramped up looking for calories in any form. My output is large and I’m trying to bring it into balance through inputs. Of course, the body has limits on each end that are governed by training and basic biology. There are limits to how much a person can train. The pros that run 150 mile weeks also run much faster than I do and do so on roads making their total volume not hugely greater than what I’m working with. Regardless, in the past few weeks I’ve begun to stumble on the trails — sprained ankles and wobbly legs. The eating doesn’t quite seem to be keeping pace and yet my weight has stayed the same or even risen slightly. These are all signs of over training — of demanding too much flux through one’s body. But, because this system is largely governed by unconscious workings of the brain and body (okay, I choose to run) it will maintain a stasis. If I push too hard I will become injured or will get sick and outputs will need to be cut. This past week, I’ve felt sleepy and sluggish and a little depressed — my homeostasis pushing me to slow down.

One can look at simple balances like these in other aspects of one’s life. I feel like my productive output is much much lower than the input of information that I have. I wake up and immediately reach over to my cell phone and take information in. I try to work but am continually led away on needless internet forays. I read papers and promise work and talk with colleagues. All of this input. Without outputs, I’m getting this caught and pent-up feeling. Fazed by the headlights. Not knowing where to start. Before I started running my food/exercise input/output balance was out of whack. I was gaining weight. But running became an avenue my brain enjoyed. I didn’t set out to lose weight. I was doing something I enjoyed. Somehow, I need to rediscover that balance in the rest of my life. Find the plug to allow the pooled excess to drain free and establish a balanced flux. Life in the limnal interface between what’s taken in and what’s produced. Read guide books only to plan for trips that will be taken. Read heart wrenching news and then act on the tragedy. Write papers, get out of bed, live now.

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