Not long ago I wrote about the surliness that I was experiencing in my quest to become a morning person. When I first started my Sleep Step Down routine I noticed that by midafternoon I was fighting to remain kind and considerate in my dealings with other people. The afternoon slump had become a very trying time of day.
The descent of the slump has evened out considerably. And I now understand what my coaches meant when they used the phrase “Dig Deep”.
I always thought the phrase referred solely to a mental attitude towards endurance. That when I felt my energy sputtering I needed to will myself forward.
But recently, I’ve expanded my understanding of digging deep. There is a physical component. There is an instant when I recognize that I’m getting tired, hungry and irritated. When the easiest thing to do would be to succumb to the agitation; to think, “To hell with it”; and to behave in a most unflattering manner.
I now realize that altering the conditioned response associated with weariness does take mental awareness and the decision to react better, but also requires relying on a physical churn. It’s as if — in the pit of my stomach — there are feet pounding against the sand. Each step is difficult because the sand gives way under the weight of my body, forcing my muscles to work harder in an effort to compensate for the movement of the Earth.
No matter where I am when the afternoon slump occurs — work, shopping with a friend, waiting in line at the grocery — when I conjure an image of running in the sand I can feel a physical change in my demeanor. I’ve reached the point of decision, I can either give up or dig deep and continue on.