So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Not Me, Coach. It's You.

Frustration: A common emotional response to arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will. The greater the obstruction, and the greater the will, the more the frustration is likely to be....In people, internal frustration may arise from challenges in fulfilling personal goals and desires, instinctual drives and needs, or dealing with perceived deficiencies....Conflict can also be an internal source of frustration; when one has competing goals that interfere with one another, it can create cognitive dissonance....While coping with frustration, some individuals may engage in passive-aggressive behavior, making it difficult to identify the original cause(s) of their frustration, as the responses are indirect. A more direct, and common response, is a propensity towards aggression. - N.E. Miller (1941)
Until I spent three months in North Chicago, IL I thought seasonal affective disorder - that state of depression which hits folks during the darker, more-gloomy months of the year - was a bunch of hooey. Darned if a solid week of cloudy, damp, miserable days at Great Mistakes didn't cause me to change my tune, & quickly.
I never thought myself to be susceptible to the symptomatology. I figured working in buildings without window access - or windows altogether - and terrible lighting for nearly three decades... there was that brief, two-year period where I worked in an office with a picture window, and a year where I worked from midnight to eight a.m...would provide sufficient protection from the vicissitudes of darkening days.
By the end of that epic just-off-the-shores-of-Lake-Michigan-in-late-autumn period, I was ready, really ready, to return to the Sunshine State. Remember those video clips where the Pope kisses the ground the moment he touches down in a foreign land? That's what I looked like on my return to Pensa-freaking-cola.
So, training with the group during late autumn darkness, dampness & dreariness was great therapy. I could definitely handle the conditions as long as there was one other person suffering with me. I know that's what brought a lot of my training partners at that time out; the fact I would be out there to get that workout in. Doesn't mean I didn't hate the conditions. I had to prove somehow I was badder than the drug. I felt being badder also led to being better on race day.
But, it's completely different when you're coach than when you're the athlete. Especially when you're dealing with adult runners who don't have to be there if they don't want to. As madness begets madness, it's easy for me to shrug off heading out to the track on a night when it's damp & drizzling; I'm already under the presumption well, heck, nobody's going to be out there...why should I even care?

Add to all of this the season - which to me, needs no reason; read some of my earlier postings to understand my religious survival - & you have a recipe for cranky (and sick!) people. I love the plethora of get-togethers, parties, social functions, drunken bacchanalia, shopping, trips, days away from work & so on, but it's a challenge balancing all this stuff. Best way you can deal with it is to take care of things very, very early (as my wife is wont to do) or realize can not do everything. Learning to say 'no, I'm sorry, that's not going to happen' is, to me, the golden mean; the royal road to sanity. The people who are offended by that response aren't going to be the ones you'd spend time with in the first place, & the ones who understand...well, they'll understand.
So, the social aspect of running can be as therapeutic for me standing on the side of the track as it is for the person circling the same. Oh, how I miss the days of ambulating (perambulating? sauntering? shuffling? meandering?) through the holiday light-bedecked neighborhoods, especially after the last 5K of the season & everyone still had their little bell attached to their running shoes. If you can hear the voice of Charlie Brown from A Charlie Brown Christmas playing in the back of your mind, when he's asking: 'is there anyone who can tell me what Christmas is all about?!' Well, that's me right now. This, too, shall pass. Kind of like a kidney stone. Ow.

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