Monday, January 26, 2015

Lessons learned from half-marathon training

Three years ago, Jessie convinced me to run the Surf City Half-Marathon.

I've never been much of a runner. Running is one of those activities that I pretty much hate. Like cycling, and swimming, and pretty much any sport that includes eye-hand coordination.
But because Jessie can talk me into nearly anything, I agreed.

Thanks to the Nike app, I was able to see my snail's pace morph into something faster. Eventually I was running six, eight, and even ten mile distances. Which honestly wasn't fun at all, but when I finished those long runs, I felt like a champion for 3.5 seconds before I collapsed onto the La-Z-boy.

Before the race day, Jessie and I met in Huntington Beach to run part of the race route in preparation. By this point, I was feeling confident. We ran together for six miles, and the whole time I was chirping positive encouragement...ya know, because that's what friends do.

At the top of mile seven, Jessie fell behind. So I jogged in place and shouted out encouraging words as she shuffled up the hill. When she finally reached my side, I fell into place beside her. The sun heated our backs while we ran along the beach, drawing in the salty air. It was perfect. And actually kind of fun for running.
That is, until she said, "go ahead of me."
I refused. Friends don't let friends sweat it out alone.
"No, really," she insisted. "Run on without me."
"But why? We can run together. This is so much fun. And you're doing sooooooo good." I grinned at her. I might have done a jumping jack with the unusual amount of energy that was zipping through me.
Jessie jerked her chin towards me, making her blonde pony tail snap behind her like a whip. If I remember right, I think she growled. "Get out of my face!"

I think I stumbled. Maybe jogged in place for a bit. Maybe frowned. I know for certain that I argued with her. She didn't know what she was saying. She didn't want me to leave, right?
I was wrong. She did, in fact, want me to go. Apparently my exuberance was too much for geriatric-running-Jessie.

At first I was angry. I wanted to tackle her to the ground. But I didn't because I learned a lesson from Jessie that day.
The thing of it is--see post below for proper grammar usage--Jessie needed me to leave so she could focus and finish the long, hard run. Despite that I was putting out some pretty awesome and positive and over-abundant vibes, she just needed some quiet to think and pull her thoughts together...and make a plan to finish the last few miles.

I get why she needed her space. The lesson is that sometimes we all need a break. Sometimes we need to step back from all the noise so we can clear our thoughts and focus.

I took a break from Facebook a couple weeks ago and I loved the break. I loved the silence. It's nice not knowing what annoyed my neighbor at Walmart, or which friend of mine is now selling oils that will undoubtedly change my life, or who is my perfect celebrity match.

My January advice for reaching your goals, is to take some time for yourself. Pull back for a bit and see if you like the quiet.  It's time for you to say:

"Get out of my face." 
Take your break, and get the clarity that you need. 

That's all for now, folks. Britta and Bubba will see you out. They're two friends of mine who don't seem to understand a thing I'm saying when I try to use the advice above.

Love, erin



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So how did you do the day of the race?
Sometimes we need that quiet moment to connect with ourselves, to pull from the depths.
And sometimes, we just need a break period. I enjoyed one of those during the holidays. Unplugged and not caring!

i'm erin. said...

Alex, I nearly died. But I finished ;)

ilima said...

Don't ask me to do a run with you. I'll be yelling obscenities a lot sooner than Jesse, lol.

This is great advice. Sometimes it takes going on vacay or a tight deadline to force me into a social media break, and it's always wonderful.

Rosalyn said...

I love this idea. While we all need support, sometimes we just need to purchase our heads down and go. Also, I love the glimpse into your friendship with Jessie. Only true friends can argue like that!

Angela Brown said...

You know, Erin, this is really good advice. Sometimes I forget to step back and then I find myself wound up, wrapped tight and not able to focus on getting done what I need to get done. But then a good friend, or my daughter - bless her soul for knowing her mommy well - will tell me to sit down and then just let me be. Just free my mind and unwind.

Kathryn Purdie said...

I love this story, and I can envision it so well the way you wrote it. I totally relate to both you and Jessie in that scenario. Great advice, and oh how I love that silence sometimes.

prerna pickett said...

great advice, and the story is perfect!

Janet Johnson said...

Love this lesson! I'm definitely a "I need my space sometimes" kind of person. It can really help find the clarity we need to finish sometimes.

So awesome that you did the half though!! Huge accomplishment!

David P. King said...

I can't do running. Nope. Can't do it. I'll swim any day of the week though!

Social media breaks (SMBs) are great. It's amazing what you can get done, and being reminded what we can get done. Well done! :)

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I so need some quiet.

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