No, not Pink Floyd’s.
I want you to imagine yourself at your most depressed. You are cold, wet, hungry, and incredibly sad. You are shaking uncontrollably and crying just as uncontrollably. You are dejected, you are miserable, and you are in a state of such self-loathing that there is no apparent way out.
That is where I was today.
The phenomenon of “hitting the wall” was brought home to me about a year ago, more actually, running with friends in training for the half marathon. One of the friends hit the wall and we found her crying, walked a bit, and seemed to cheer her up. But try as we might we couldn’t really, truly understand: we offered her water and a walk break, and tried to decipher best practices for next time.
So I now know what Duncan and Bryce were up against today, when I walked my bike up to them in Bel-Red, completely uncollected and openly weeping.
It takes a lot to make me cry. It takes a lot a lot to make me cry in front of other people. I don’t like it, there is all sorts of personal shame associated with it. And here I was crying, IN FRONT OF GUYS.
Incidentally, crying in front of incredibly understanding, awesome guys who didn’t try to solve it and didn’t try to belittle it: they walked with me, kept an eye on me, and ensured I got to a Starbucks where I rested and recouped.
In my case, I hit a wall over several things: I didn’t hydrate nearly enough, I didn’t eat enough breakfast, I didn’t prepare for the cold, I didn’t prepare for the wet, and it was my first outing with clippie shoes which, while they propel you farther, require more of your musculature than you would think. All manner of things contributed to the breakdown, and let me tell you, fifty unstopped minutes of personal loathing and forlorn-ness are not fun. By the time I made it to the Starbucks I had formed a plan: procure the necessary additional items (rain shell, longer bike tights, second water bottle) and provide the necessary additional preparation (full breakfast, extra water, extra snacks).
Because I’m not doing that again. It was the most personally demeaning, ugly chapter in my life, save possibly one circa November 2005, and I don’t wish to repeat it ever.
Next weekend, the wall will be my bitch.