Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eager Beaver Complex

I will be the first one to stand up and tell you that my personality has some flaws. A glaring one in particular is what I call "The Eager Beaver Complex". My husband thinks that may be putting it a little too nicely.

An Eager Beaver is a go getter, a man or woman of action.  This can be a good thing. It means you take initiative, get things accomplished.  It can also be a bad thing when done to the extreme. Like when it's 2:00 am and I am in bed wondering where I left my phone. Most of the time I am physically unable to sleep unless I find it right then. I can not wait until morning.

In the same vein, when I start something, I go full throttle. When I am given a task, I want to give everything I have right then and there. What usually happens is I run out of gas within the week. Before my transformation this meant I would give up in frustration and move the project into my unfinished business of failures box.

A good example of this would be my running. When I started last year, I would almost sprint full speed for the first lap around the park. If I even made it to the end of my run, I was slogging around the final turn. I was o excited to go and get something accomplished that I put all my effort and energy into the start. As was evidenced in my, that kind of behavior is unsustainable. In my running I had to learn to pace myself.

In my eating I had to do the same thing. If I was losing weight on 1500 calories a day, then 1000 calories a day would make me lose even more! That worked really well until I had no energy to hit the gym and kept pulling muscles because my body didn't have enough fuel to operate. So I had to find a balance.

Still working on that in my regular day to day life. Finding a moderation. I want to finish the task I'm given and do the best I can. However, I have to pace myself or I will burn out before I have the chance to succeed. Part of the Eager Beaverness is an associated tunnel vision and obsession.  Nothing in my life matters except this one thing. My family calls it an obssesive trait. I call it focus. Tomato/ tomahto. But they're right that when you have tunnel vision, you can't see the truck about to side swipe ya.

There are times to run and times to walk. Sometimes it's a steady jog. The wisdom is listening to you body and your spirit and finding your inner balance. It won't do me any good to run the fastest five miles of my life if I peter out before I hit the finish line. Or worse, I'm looking at my feet so I miss a turn and run off course.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mental Hurdles

         I am a runner. However, this does not at all mean that I actually enjoy running. The truth is I dread anything over 3 miles. Considering I am now a marathon runner, and training for the next one, that would mean I don't look forward to around 75% of my runs.
        Most people hate Modays. I love 'em. Sunday and Monday are my days of rest AKA no running. The day that makes me cringe is Saturday -- the day of the week I have my long runs. According to the training, every Saturday you have your highest mileage run, and each week it gets progressively longer. Today was 9 miles.
        I woke up this morning and immediately felt that trepidation I associate with knowing something is ahead that really sucks. I'll be honest, I did not want to do it. I did not want to run today because I knew it would be long and I knew I wasn't going to like it.  So I put it off, doing my other chores first.
        I swam with the kids. I fixed the pond in the backyard. I hooked up the new entertainment system for my parents. I wrote a new chapter for the Fat Pack Mysteries. But the whole time I was looking at the clock and my sense of dread grew. It was like hearing that Jaws theme music getting closer and closer.
        Their was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to in fact run the 9 miles sometime today. The training schedule I made says that I had to, so I would. With all that I had learned over the last year, one of the key things was following through on what I say I'm going to do. Finish what I start, no quitting. No backing out.
         So yes, I knew I would finish my run today, but I was being dragged there kicking and screaming. It finally got late enough that I realized if didn't want to run at night with a headlamp, I had better get my butt in gear. During the run my brain did what it usually does, overthinks things and assigns meaning to what I have been struggling with.
        I realized I was a long distance runner, not a hurdle jumper. Yet that was what I was doing to myself. I had been creating an unnecessary hurdle in my path that I needed to get over in order to complete my run. I needed to and would finish those 9 miles today no matter what.  So did my complaining and dread make getting that job done any easier? No. It made it that much harder to get my little running tights out the door.
       The more I thought about it the more I realized that I made hurdles in alot of aspects of my life. I'm a finisher now, so I never quit. But that doesn't mean I don't moan and murmur and begrudge all the effort. Which is stupid and counter productive. If I'm going to do something anyway, wouldn't you think I would want to make it as easy as possible?
         I finished the 9 miles today with relative ease, but it still wasn't particularly fun. But the feeling I got after my-- way too high tech for me --watch beeped, signaling the end of the workout, reminded me why I do it in the first place. To feel that finisher's high. That sense of accomplishment that I get after doing something hard. That is the sledgehammer that helps me slam through the other hurdles in my life. I can look back on hard things I've done and then look forward to obstacles in front of me and say "You're nothing. See what I did?"
         Today helped me see that life, by it's very nature, puts up way too many hurdles in front of me.  I really don't need to be adding any more of my own. So hopefully next Saturday I will wake up and knock the 10 mile run out of the way. Then I can get to the good part of feeling great afterward.


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