Mining self gratification for ‘transferable skills’

Did my kids resent how much time I spent running during the 90in9 project?

It’s a reasonable question. Logging 10 miles took a nearly two-hour chunk out of every day, and that’s not counting how long it took me to get to the starting line.

My sister Traci and I at our parents' house before heading out on our final run of the 90in9 challenge

Last spring when I asked our youngest, Colleen, then 8, whether it was selfish for moms to exercise without their kids — something I’d heard other women say they felt guilty about — she said yeah, sometimes she did feel that way.

So did it bug her when I recently spent an estimated 990 minutes running 90 miles in nine days?

“Nah,” she said. “We’re getting older, so it’s not like we need you every minute of every day.”

Fair enough. But did she get anything out of the experience? Did she understand why I found this project so meaningful? Did she have any awareness of what I learned along the way?

“Not really,” she said.

So clearly my work on that project is not yet finished. As I sort through the stack of “lessons learned,” here are four things I hope to pass along to my kids:

1. If I can muster enough mental toughness to run in the driving rain, I ought to be capable of raking leaves in a light drizzle.

It’s one thing to ignore pain and suffering when you’re doing something you love. So why do I think it must be a glorious sunny autumn day before I take rake in hand?

I’m working on converting that previously undiscovered fortitude into a “transferable skill” I can apply to other areas of my life where I wimp out too easily.

2. Just because you’re a runner (or a swimmer or a soccer player) doesn’t mean you can eat like a pig.

I assumed I’d drop a couple of pounds over that nine-day period, but I didn’t. I was so hungry all the time — or thought I was — that I was easily taking in enough extra calories to make up for what I was burning.

On the other hand, I did get away with eating like a pig for nine days without gaining an ounce. But that’s not a good habit to get into, for obvious reasons.

3. Put your dream in your appointment book.

In retrospect, the hardest thing about running 90 miles in nine days was simply making time to do it, especially since I was coordinating most of those runs with my sister. Before we started this project, we “made an appointment” for each run and wrote those times down in our calendar books as if they were trips to the orthodontist.

I once read in a self-help book that if your dream isn’t on your “to-do” list every single day — even if it’s the tiniest baby step imaginable — then it won’t happen.

At the time I read that, my dreams weren’t even tangible enough for me to tell you what specific “steps” I ought to be taking in the first place.

But even that’s a potential starting point:

2 p.m. — Chop dream up into little tiny pieces (to be reassembled at a later date.)

4. Own your story.

When I told a friend I was planning to run 90 miles in 9 days, her reaction was: “Why?”

Good question. That’s not a number that means anything to anyone else. If you make it your goal to run a marathon, or even a 5K, those are socially accepted fitness goals that people can appreciate.

But identifying a goal that means something to you — whether that’s turning my weight loss equation into a fitness equation, or running every road in Wells County, as one of Rowan’s substitute teachers has done, or doing something else entirely different — there are going to be people who think you’re nuts.

But your life is your story. How you define it — and how well you pull it off — is up to you.

This entry was posted in 90in9 challenge, running/fitness, Tips, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Mining self gratification for ‘transferable skills’

  1. Shanny says:

    I really like this post, especially point number 4. Own your goal. I go to the gym on a consistent basis and the goal in my head is to get ‘physically fit’….only that is a difficult goal because how do you know when you get there? I like the idea of picking out a goal that is MINE and then doing what is required to get there. I have been getting a little bored with the gym and I think that’s because I’m not really working toward anything concrete.

    I’m going to spend some time thinking about this over the weekend!

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