Ego and Out-of-Control Animals

In Vinyasa Yoga, one of the instructors often tells us to "leave our egos at the door and do not go beyond our edge." By this she means to be realistic about what we are capable of doing on that given day. We should not push beyond our limits, because if we do, it could lead to an unnecessary injury. But running has the opposite psyche. We constantly tell ourselves, and each other, to push beyond our limits.

So how do we find the balance?

I think the key phrase is "on that given day." Some days we feel better than others. What our bodies allow on one day, may not be what we are capable of on another.

One thing that I have learned from training for so many races is that there are different kinds of running workouts. Long runs, speed work, tempo runs and yes, easy runs. Each workout has a time, a place and a purpose - “on a given day”.

Several weeks ago I did a long run with RoadBunner. She is a faster runner than I am but "for that given day" she had to run at an easy pace because that was what her marathon-training plan called for. Normally it stresses me out to run with someone who is faster than I am, but she is a smart and disciplined runner who listens to her training plan and I knew that she would be okay with whatever pace I set for the run.

There have been many days where I have not "checked my ego at the door." Many of my training runs have been at paces that were faster than prescribed. I would even start my run by telling myself that I would not run faster than a certain pace, but then I would fall slave to my Garmin and think, "I can run faster than this." Even on days where I was specifically told to run a slower pace. Clearly I have yet to learn that every run doesn't have to be faster than the previous.

Recently I stopped wearing my Garmin on "easy run" days so I wouldn't look at my Garmin every 5.8 seconds. But to be honest, I think those runs ended up being about the same paces as my "non-easy run" days.

So now I'm wondering if I have actually progressed to the point where my "easy runs" are just at a faster pace, or if it was just my ego talking the whole time. I really have no clear answer. I am also not even quite sure what the point of this post is. It’s just something that has been weighing on my mind.

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On another note, I went out for a 5-mile (interval) run this morning. About a mile and a half into the run I was trotting along (again, at a pace that was faster than it should have been) when I was blind-sided by a dog that was larger than I am.

It came up on my right side and knocked me over. It stood over me, barking, not letting me up. The owner (who was not much bigger than I am) came running over, yelling at the dog to back off. I finally yelled, “He’s not listening, can you just pull him back?” She finally did, and then proceeded to beat the dog down. What a bad dog owner, no wonder the dog was such a wreck. I barked back at the owner that she needs to leash her dog or else it would get her arrested one-day.

Ironically, last week, a German shepherd also jumped on me. It was an older dog and I knew that it was only trying to be playful (not mean), but still, I wasn’t amused and also had to ask the owner to get his dog off of me.

I have 3 takeaways from these experiences:

1. If your pet cannot behave, or you cannot control it in public, please keep it leashed.

2. What is the best way to handle an out of control animal that you encounter on a run?

3. Why am I such a target for these animals?