Saturday, March 26, 2011

Doing the Dishes

Finally, after years of trying to figure out how to cultivate that GET IT DONE attitude mrp kept harping on me to cultivate, I think I might have finally done it. Before, I kept trying to just take on a GET IT DONE attitude for myself, but it never seemed to stick. No matter how hard I tried I'd still hem and haw about workouts and chores and work and all kinds of stuff. I'd feel paralyzed not knowing where to start mundane projects. Scared I couldn't adequately complete other tasks. I'd make excuses for myself: I didn't get enough sleep; I have so much other stuff to do; I'm too busy; etc. etc. etc.

This time I did not intend to force a GET IT DONE attitude on myself. No, the GET IT DONE attitude was a side-effect of a different change in perspective. One thing I've realized about myself recently is that I never took a long view of my running. I was always focused on this week's workouts or the one goal race lurking immediately around the corner. I never viewed a training cycle as a means to some greater end. Each training cycle was an end onto itself. When Coach G agreed to take me under his wing he asked me what my goals were. He said, "Don't just say you want to get faster because you can get faster on your own." Hmm. That got me thinking. And then I remembered my by40 goal talk and thought, what the hey? Let's go for the 2:45 by 40. And in going for a 2:45 by 40, I sure as heck know that it's not going to happen in one training cycle. And thus my conversion to big picture thinking.

It's not much of a revelation to say that running is the perfect laboratory for solving life's problems. Rather than viewing nailing a particular workout as an end in itself, I view each workout as a part of the means to a bigger end. And that end, the half marathon in May is a a means to an even bigger end: a fall marathon. This fall marathon, in turn, is a means to an even bigger end: a faster spring marathon. And so on and so forth. It's great, because I hardly sweat the workouts anymore.

And then one day I realized how this perspective might help me elsewhere. I've been practicing keeping my eye on the big picture rather than focusing on the day-to-day muckety muck. Sure, if I bother to do the dishes now, 30 more dirty dishes will soon fill the sink back up. But that's ok. Cleaning the dishes is not an end in itself. Cleaning the dishes is a means to general household maintenance. If I look at my goal as general maintenance and establishing a sense of discipline in myself and my children it feels a whole heck of a lot easier to get the dishes done today.

Same with these hard workouts. Suddenly 10 miles @ 7:05 pace is way less scary than I ever thought it would be! In fact, it felt downright comfortable to average 6:59 pace for 10 miles this morning. Who wudda thunk it? And my tempo on Thursday was the fastest tempo I have ever run: averaged 6:32 for 5 miles (closing in 6:17). And it felt good and dare I say, fun? I never ever liked tempo runs before, but lately I am loving them. I never liked doing dishes before, but lately I'm even enjoying that. Crazy what a little change in perspective can do!

1 comment:

Rachel Neil said...

Since we've moved to our 4 level split home in Strathmore, Alberta; I haven't had to do dishes once. I place them in the dishwasher, I don't even bother to rinse my dishes first, I let the dishwasher do all the work.