Thursday, July 25, 2013

Slow Down

Every now and then life smacks me with a dose of reality as a reminder to slow down.  Sometimes it’s an actual physical smack in the form of a cold or flu.  Other times it’s a metaphorical smack.  This week it was metaphorical.

As many of you know I set a couple of running goals this year.  The first was to run 5 km by the end of May…check, mission accomplished!  The second is to run 10 km by the end of the year.

I’m starting to feel the pressure of time constraints in meeting the second goal.  The end of the year in Stony Plain, Alberta, is cold, dark, and snowy.   Not exactly a climate conducive to running outside.  Determined to meet my goal, I’ve attempted to speed up my program so I can run 10 km by the end of October.

Since I hit 5 km I’ve struggled to increase my time.  In fact even running 30 minutes – a goal I achieved last year – challenges my endurance, making my year end goal seem like an unrealistic pipe dream.

Frustrated with the results I’m getting I looked for the cause of my apparent lack of endurance.  I started to blame outside influences.  You know the drill…

  • the scented candles at work that make me cough, decreasing short term lung function,
  • the new shoes that change the position of my feet and use different muscle groups,
  • the chiropractic adjustment that changed my body’s alignment, making it more difficult to run.
Instead of examining the situation to figure out what’s really going on we make excuses by blaming outside influences.

 After a particularly frustrating 47 minute run this past weekend, I spent some time in introspection, mulling over the problem.

I have an app on my phone that monitors how far I run, how long I run, and how fast I run.  Reviewing the history stored in the app I realized I’ve been running too fast.

Can I get an app like that for my life?  When I’m cramming too much in a day it would vibrate and beep at me with the message, “Slow down you idiot”.  I don’t think Apple’s figured it out yet, but maybe one day!

I’ve blogged about running too fast before.  (See "Not The Gold Medal Sprint" and "Persistence - Perseverance - Endurance"I do recognize the problem and try to keep it in check, but subconsciously, in an effort to accomplish my goal sooner, I increase my speed at the same time I lengthen my time.

When I run too fast I push my body to its limits.  When I get to a hill there’s no reserve.  By the time I get to the top my legs are screaming in agony and I’m gasping for air.  It’s a little difficult to keep running for another 20 minutes in that condition!

How is that for a life metaphor?  Do you run too fast in your everyday life?  We push ourselves to our limits, trying to do more and more. 

We work nine or ten hour days, cook meals, take the kids to evening activities, try to squeeze out quality time with our spouse, do the laundry, clean the house, cut the grass, shovel the snow, see our friends, participate in community and church events, try to eke out a few minutes for prayer and bible study, exercise, eat right…and wonder why we’re exhausted at the end of each day.

The unfortunate thing is my alarm clock doesn’t discriminate.  It doesn’t care that I stayed up till midnight working on sales projections, writing a blog, or reading a book.  Regardless of when I called it a night the alarm still goes off at 5:40 a.m.!

When you constantly push yourself there’s no strength to draw from when you come to a hill (or a rough spot in life).

Endurance is key in running.  I’m not trying to break anyone’s speed record.  I just want to run 10 km.  In order to do that I need to slow down and build endurance to go the distance.

Endurance in life is key, too.  How do you build endurance?  Slow down the pace.  Give yourself a rest.  You’re not a super hero and you don’t have to act like one.  Cut yourself some slack.  Life’s a marathon, not a 100 metre dash! 


What do you find yourself rushing to do?  Do you need to slow down?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below. 


Heather Smuda said...

When you find the app for slowing down, let me know. I think it's taken me a month to unwind enough from life that I can consider some of the myriad things that have gone undone for a ridiculously long time.

Carol Henders said...

Completely understand what you're saying, Heather! It seems like I can stay organized at work or at home, but not both!