Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Problem With Runners

Generally speaking (which means look out I'm about to toss out a stereotype), runners are goal oriented kind of people. We run for a goal, a particular time, distance or speed. Now there are of course those few Zen guru runners, who just toss on the shoes and head out the door for no particular allotted amount of time or distance and the speed of the run depends on whatever happens to be ideal for that Utopian running moment. But I believe these runners are few and far between, hence the whole market for Garmin Forerunners (have you priced those puppies btw? YIKES! I'll be sticking with my $20 Target model and my dad following along behind me on his bike tracking the miles for as long as he will tolerate me. Thanks Dad!).

But here's the problem (at least for little OCD me): this same drive and determination that compels a runner to hit his/her goal begins to drift over into the rest of everyday life and sometimes the consequences are not too good.

Take me this evening for example. I wanted to get some flowers planted after the girls were in bed since I bought them about a month ago and the poor little things can not seem to stand the teeny tiny little black annual boxes restricting their roots any longer. Fortunately for me the last hold out fell asleep at 7:30 on her daddy's lap eating a popsicle while watching Charlie & Lola during her bedtime routine (I know...what kind of jacked up bedtime routine involves popsicles and cartoons? That would be mine. But hey, re-read that one more time. That was asleep at 7:30. Thinking about going to buy some popsicles? ;-)

So I set a goal. I just wanted to have this one section of my flower bed planted before I came in. But in the middle of all this I remembered, we had bought some solar lights last year that we're pretty dang frustrating to get into the ground straight AND stable, but figured since I'm a whole year older and wiser in my planting ways I'm sure NOW I will suddenly be able to get those bad boys in. So I start. La dee da. Hum. Hum. I love to plant flowers and lights. It's so fun. (really, I do like to plant for a little while at least). But the section I wanted to plant, was taking far longer than I expected and pretty soon I found myself cheering myself on, no scratch that, WILLING myself on the way I do during a run sometimes (ok almost all the time). Instead of I WILL finish this run. I WILL run 10 min miles. I WILL run to that stop sign. It was: I WILL finish planting this section. I WILL get these flowers planted. I WILL get these last two lights in the ground.

And like a crazy woman I couldn't stop. I had to keep planting, despite that fact that it was creeping up on 2 hours from the time I started, the street lights had come on, and the neighbors had all headed indoors (can't you just imagine what a freak they thought I was. "Look honey, she's STILL out there planting those stupid flowers. Can she even see?") And all the while I willed myself on. Until finally, I was on THE very last light, the last thing to do before going inside. And as I dug in the dark, matching every shovel full of dirt with a swat to the leg to end the life of a sorry mosquito who chose the wrong sucker while the devil ants that inhabit my flowerbeds (seriously, why do mine have teeth?) began their own charge inside my weeding gloves, I heard a CHINK as my shovel hit something solid. I tried to shovel around it. CHINK CHINK CHINK. Soon I ended up going from digging on my knees to a frustrated flop on my behind.

While the runner in me wanted to go get a flashlight and get that last stinkin' light in the ground to hit my self assigned goal, I realized something (picture light bulb over head here...ironic considering if I had a light bulb handy I would have been able to see all along and perhaps been able to avoid or remove the chinking culprit) I WAS NOT RUNNING and while running has taught me much about how to persevere in life, perhaps even more than anything else (at least that I can think of right now...I am kinda tired though so take that with a grain of salt...what does that even mean? Sorry, I digress...), SOMETIMES it is OK to throw in the towel, or put away the shovel and call it the big Q (dare I say it?), quits. We just have to know the difference between when quitting is the smart thing or the weenie thing to do and for mammas especially this can be a hard concept to grasp. Since we are always pretty sure we can do it all.

So here's my new philosophy...I quit when necessary and SOMETIMES it IS necessary. Because as of late, I've been doing far too many things for the whole world and spreading myself a wee bit too thin where it counts. But never fear I still promise NEVER to quit when it's NOT necessary.

And while I'd like to continue on and tell you all about my race Sunday, and where I've been the past week when I wasn't posting, it will have to wait for another day, because I QUIT! (at least for now besides this post is too long already anyway. Time for you to get on to other things and me to get to bed)

'Til next time...

Trim the fat...quit something unecessary!


HEATHER said...

I'm quitting laundry!! And I'll tell hubby you said it was ok! haha :)

Marlene said...

Excellent post!

If there's one thing I have learned in running it's that sometimes something has to give.

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

FYI it is not quitting if you have already accomplished a lot, which is sounds like you did. I know quitters and from your story, my dear you are not one of them.

As a running Mom I know how hard it is to balance EVERYTHING. Some days not starting something is the best option, because lord knows not starting is easier than quitting..

OK so funny the word verification for my post is "quitios".

runnanna said...

Proud of you for STOPPING (different from quitting) but would you have been able to stop if you'd had a little box-waiting to be hgihlighted in-on your refrigerator that said, " Easy long planting"? Stopping takes another couple of qualities sometimes-courage to stop and self-discipline NOT to beat up on yourself! Good for you!

solar panels said...

I like your new philosophy.It is very good.

Runsis said...

I hope that sound you heard was not buried treasure left by the former owners and you stopped just before you became a millionare!! Nevermind, I'm sure it was nothing, just a rock. But, I gotta go now! Hmmmm, where's my shovel?

Jwen said...

This post was great. I can totally relate.

It is a good thing for us runners to quit especially when we are injured too....

Anyway, if it wasn't for goal-oriented runners I think there would be more chaos and unrest in the world. Basically, the world needs us! lol..We are DOERS and GET THINGS DONE and NOTHING I mean NOTHING can stop us....unless we choose to stop.