The marathons continue to draw closer. Friends of mine are having successes in their training and I envy them. I feel that I am falling further and further behind. If I speak about this, people are quick to point out that raising two babies is difficult, work is stressful and so is trying to sell a co-op (which at this price is a steal!). These are valid points BUT the marathons are lining up to kick my ass. They don’t care what else is going on in my life.
My sister, who is my “go-to” in terms of running Marathons always says that “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” Basically, you’ll hurt but how much is up to you and how much you train. I, apparently, am opting for the suffering.
Last week has reminded me to get back to one of my philosophies in life. I saw it happen to someone else today but I won’t tell their story because it’s their story. I’ll tell mine because it’s my story and I’m egotistical. So the theory is this:
Don’t fight. Win.
This seems to fly in the face of common knowledge. You need to fight to get what you want, right?
Fighting is a strange concept. In some circumstances, it’s advised: Fight the Power, Fight Gingivitis, Fight…for your right…to paaaaaaarty. Sometimes it’s mandated: If it’s your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight. Other times, it’s not allowable: Don’t fight with your brother. It’s a warning: You can’t fight City Hall. Sometimes, it’s an impossibility: I can’t fight this feeling anymore, I’ve forgotten what I’ve started fighting for.
My story is this. When I was studying for the Bar, I needed to pay a fee as part of my application and when I went to my bank, the teller tried to charge me $12 dollars for a bank check. I knew she was wrong but the teller was unwavering. I tried to explain to her that she was wrong, tried to get her to call a manager but the only thing she did was tell me that if I didn’t like it, I should go to the post office where bank checks only cost $4. If anyone has studied for the Bar Exam or studied for any other test that consumes your soul, you know that anything can set you off. Normal things are annoying, annoying things are infuriating and people trying to steal 12 bucks from you push you to a level where a murder charge would be mitigated by a “Heat of Passion” defense. Rather than scream at this teller who wasn’t going to help me, I walked out of the bank. The Win was passing the Bar, which I ended up doing. Fighting with this teller was getting me nowhere.
At the same time in my life, I was trying to watch my weight. My energy was low and I felt like crap. I knew that a solid exercise plan was impossible so I needed to try to eat healthier. While studying for the bar, you will eat anything, particularly if it’s easy to prepare. Most junk food is easy. You’ll use excuses—it’s because of stress, it’s only until the test is over, this bag of candy provides me with energy, the Twinkie is the reason they invented the Rule against Perpetuities!!! I planned to get sushi after obtaining my bank check but once the bank check attempt went wrong, I thought “screw it, too much stress, at least eat something you like.” First, I thought chicken parm wedge, then General Tso’s Chicken, then General Tso’s on a wedge. Plus pork fried rice. Wonton Soup (it’s healthy, it’s mostly chicken soup). Egg rolls have vegetables. And eggs are good for you.
Then it dawned on me. I had lost my focus. I was allowing a stupid incident make me lose my focus. I ended up getting the sushi and taking a few steps to get that bank check for free. I didn’t fight. I won. I didn’t let that little setback distract me from what I really wanted to do.
There are always things that will happen in our lives that cause emotions that generally distract us. I know in my situation mentioned above, I was feeling bad, would have felt momentarily better eating and then much worse because I had let the situation get the best of me. In the end, it’s not worth it.
So tonight I ran hills in White Plains in preparation for San Francisco. They suck. I completely avoided hills while training last year for NYC because NYC is a relatively flat race. There are some hills but they are mostly on the bridges. The Harry Chapin Race that I wrote about previously was hilly and it beat me up to the point of almost withdrawing from the Marathon. San Francisco will be hillier and 4 times as long. I’m getting ready for the pain. Hoping to minimize the suffering.