I just didn't have it today. Try as I might, I just couldn't muster much energy. Instead of running or even jogging, I mostly slogged and grimaced. I'm typing this in the backyard. Across the lawn in the sun lies my dog who just rolled onto her back, growled, and shimmied her back into the lawn as much in ecstasy and satisfaction as any being could ever be. She remains on her back, still now, paws splayed out to either side, head turned into the grass, belly soaking in the sun. It seemed to use up all her energy that back scratch and now she's done for the hour. That's about how I feel minus the ecstasy.
At least I'm writing.
Last week, with whole days of time open to me, I was out running for two hours, then back home reading a book, but I couldn't work up the energy or enthusiasm to write. I wanted to be writing and even got the computer out a few times, but there was nothing that I had to say. Everything felt boring, self-centered, worthless even to me. This presented a problem. I have this blog and try to publish regularly enough that I can put out a newsletter once a week to thirty subscribers. I felt the obligation of it all, but there was just nothing in me to say. It just wasn't there. I couldn't gin anything up either. I worried about it, then remembered that my subscribers aren't paying anything and let it go. I posted a note to everyone that I was taking a hiatus and felt better almost immediately.
Energy and enthusiasm are odd things. I'm going to turn fifty soon and my body has changed over the years as you would expect. A few months ago I decided to get into shape and then did something strange given how many times I've made similar decisions: I worked at it. I've been running a bunch and have changed some of how I eat. I need to run a bunch more and change more of what I eat, but I've made some progress. Each morning I have all sorts of energy for eating well. By seven in the evening I want to eat cake. For a few months I resisted that urge and thought it through. You don't really need food, I'd tell myself. You're just bored and think you want to eat. I had enough enthusiasm for the project that I listened to that calm and rational voice. This last week, instead, I've listened to the voice which demonically shouts, GIVE ME COOKIES NOW! That voice is energetic and enthusiastic as hell.
Out on the run today I wondered what was happening. I just had nothing in the tank. I had slept in this morning, eaten two homemade bean burritos, and the weather was perfect. I had only run 6.65 the day before and 10.2 the day before that with two rest days prior to that long run. I should have been feeling good and ready to go. I accept that the first mile might be a bit stiff and uncomfortable, but then I expect to loosen up. Maybe my body did even if it didn't feel like that, but my mind never got into the run. Not even a little.
Throughout the run I tried to figure out what was happening, but now that I'm done I'm trying to decide if I was physically sapped or if I'm mentally and emotionally drained. I don't major in depression and I'm not even sure I minor in it, but I have certainly strung together a concentration in it and know that I progress through a wave emotionally. I wrote once about how it's like the Sine curve from math. It varies between one and negative one, not too high, not too low, and I move through the curve up and down on a semi-regular period. I've been on the upside for about two weeks. This doesn't mean I'm always happy or even constantly content, but that I'm more content than discontent. My depressions, if they can even be called that, are usually shallow but sometimes stick around for a week or two at a time. The darkness is not so deep, but it's there and tough to wade through.
My guess is that most of what I felt today was a touch of depression sucking away some of the energy and enthusiasm I might have felt for the run today. The depression is in my head but it is also in my legs and arms, the beating of my heart, the accordion of my lungs, and most every nerve in my body. I wasn't feeling it today out there on the run. I was feeling something else. I could fight it, but here's the thing I'm understanding more and more with each passing day: fighting is a fast way to losing while acceptance simply takes me through to the other side of the curve and back into the light.