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Growth And Maturity Or Just A Stupid Wimp…

This post was supposed to be a landmark event here at JenIsZen.  I was all set to come home this afternoon and sit down with tired legs to write a celebratory missive about how I had just run 15K!

That would have been awesome.

I have no idea how to sugarcoat this so I’m just going to plow through and hope not to notice the way you see the crazy in me.

I signed up for a 15K one night while I was at work.  I was browsing through running websites looking for 5K races that would hopefully kick my butt a little bit and force me to get to the gym more often than, say, twice a month.  After I had signed up for three different 5Ks I started to think that by fall I’d be ready for a 10K.  How exciting!  And then I saw The 15K Muddy Monster.  And in a fit of masochistic insanity I entered my information on to the racing form and submitted the fifteen dollar entry fee.

Then I didn’t train.  At all.  Ever.  I didn’t run over three miles on any single day.

It isn’t that I forgot about the upcoming race or that I subconsciously decided I wasn’t going to do it anyway.  It wasn’t really a cerebral process at all.  Which is the big giant problem.

Let me back track a little bit and tell you about how I used to make decisions.  I, in a word, didn’t.  I wouldn’t make plans or flow charts or diagrams of any decision.  I would just jump in and paddle furiously until I reached the other side and then crawl on shore, gasping and choking on the sense of accomplishment I felt at taking a risk.

I entered The Muddy Monster this way.  I honestly thought that I was capable of just waking up one Saturday and running 9.3 miles.  Whether or not I trained wasn’t really going to be an issue.  All I had to do was finish, I said.  I’m not going for a specific time and all I need to do is cross that line!  I don’t care if I limp across the line or if I lose my toenails or can’t walk until Christmas I’MGOINGTODOIT!  Woo-hoo!

All that emotion.  And none of the logical reality or foresight.

The reality is that I’m in a very stringent and structured nursing school program.  Any sort of limping or gimping around would set me back in clinical rotations.  Stress fractures requiring a cast or splint would have meant messing up the program.  And lack of training for this race could very well mean that I would sustain a fracture or splint.  Logic dictates that I do not start this race without proper training.

And I’m sitting here fighting the urge to wallow in disappointment and kick myself in the head all day because I’m such an idiot.  Disappointment in myself is usually my default position.

Side story:  Do you remember going sledding as a child? (This is going somewhere, I promise.)  When I was younger my cousins lived across the street from a giant golf course full of hills and slopes and it took much more than the threats of no hot chocolate after dinner to keep us away from those snow-covered steeps.  We’d pile on all of the heavy winter clothes and grab the sleds from the garage before my aunt could realize we were gone.  We didn’t see what the big deal was…we always bailed off the sleds before they slid onto the highway.  We wanted to have our fun but avoid certain disaster at the same time.  We wanted to feel that rush but maintain our safety as well.

So today, I am not going to be disappointed.  Instead, I feel proud that I bailed off the sled before it hit traffic.

There is nothing wrong with taking risks and being spontaneous.  I could have finished the race today.  I know that.  But I think there is a difference between spontaneity and erratic, frivolous choices that can end up hurting yourself or someone else.

I’m at a good place in my life.  Things are going well.

And I don’t want to risk it.

Instead, I will plan to make choices that will not hurt.  And I went to the gym this morning to train.


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