Thursday, April 25, 2013

Knowing Thyself

Written April 19, 2013:

As I sit here in our local Barnes and Noble café, I prepare myself to write for the second day in a row.  I ponder just what I will write about, because, frankly, I’m just not sure what it is I want to say today.  Many thoughts ramble through my head, but none seem especially enticing to investigate further.  The most prominent thoughts have had to do with running.  I ran my furthest run yesterday, at a good solid pace for me.  I averaged 13:57 per mile with a total time of 1:09:03 for five miles.  My husband and I made the choice last night to take a break from running today.  We have yet to purchase new running shoes, and our older ones are, well, older.  With wet weather coming in, having run several days in a row now, and the lack of good shoes, we decided it would be a good day to rest.

I like rest days, but I find myself missing getting out there and running, even for just a short two to three miler.  I find myself obsessing over where I am going with my running.  I want to eventually get to the point where on my long distance run day, I am out hitting the pavement for a good two hours.  Right now, that translates into about an 8 mile run.  I don’t know if my body is ready for that or, almost more importantly, if my mind is ready for that kind of distance and time.  I WANT to be ready, though.  And this is where I find myself so many times.  I get the “I wants” and then end up losing the patience to put in the time and effort to earn my way up to where I want to be.

And that, my friends, is the starting point.  I know how important it is to know how I typically respond so I can change that response.  If I don’t realize that I tend to jump the gun and want what I want when I want what I want (meaning I want it NOW), how can I ever begin to modify that response to the point that I become willing to put in the necessary time and effort to get what I want?  The short answer is, I can’t.  I am not a magician.  I don’t want to be a magician.  What fun is the journey if there is no effort?  Heck, without effort, there is no journey!  I might as well just snap my fingers and be done with it.  But what fun is that?  Not much in my book.  So, what does this mean for me?

Well, it means I am at the beginning stages of changing how I respond to running.  Instead of magically thinking that I will be running a marathon or an ultra-run any time in the near future, I will focus on what I can do, and that is run a few 5k’s here and there over the next several months.  I can set a goal to prepare myself to run a 10k next summer.  I can keep going out, running nearly everyday but taking purposefully chosen rest days to recover from my training and take just as much pleasure in those days knowing they are part of my journey.  I can also keep pushing myself mentally and physically, running shorter distances for most of the week, but increasing my foot cadence for select time periods and distances.  I may not be ready to get out there and run 10 miles.  I may not even be ready for six miles.  But I know eventually I will if I keep training and pushing myself within realistic bounds.  And, I know that if I keep in mind my tendencies, I can keep them in check and remind myself that just because something has been a tendency doesn’t mean it needs to remain a tendency.  Just like implementing a new habit takes repetitively doing over at least 21 days time, so does replacing an old thought process or tendency, though length of time will vary depending upon how ingrained the thought process or tendency is.  So, I am taking my time, I am enjoying the ride, and I am learning to be gentle with myself when I push it too hard, too far, or not nearly hard or far enough.  And, I continue learning more about myself and others as I go.  Who could ask for a better experience?

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