Saturday, September 12, 2009

The "challenge" of resting

Those that know me (and even those that understand very little about me), know that I'm pretty passionate and competitive about life in general. I love pushing my physical and mental limits; I savor pain, love victory, and hate to lose. Whether it's running, school, or living life in general, when I get passionate about something, it's very hard for me to stand back and let it be.

Even when I'm beyond my limits, gasping for breath and reprieve from pain, I just don't well enough to walk away from the challenge at the moment. My coach would (affectionately) describe the best runners on our track team as "too stupid to know they're hurting." As badass of a compliment that may be, I think as in all things in life, balance is important.

When I look at an engineering problem, my mind races between given information, known relationships, applied concepts, plausible solution values, mathematical methods, reverse problem-solving, and the first central solution that will enable me to find the complete answer. Running and relationships are somewhat like this, but also drastically different. When I go about achieving something athletic or personal, there is a generally a specific theme along the road to success. There are variables that affect the quality of my final result, and depending on how I tweak each of those, I reach a result that's either good enough or a failure.

However, running and relationships don't promise success even when you do everything you can. As a passionate and competitive person, this can take a lot out of me. There was an office episode where Michael Scott is being interviewed, and when asked what his greatest fault is, he replies "I love too much." Though it is pretty funny for how ridiculous the character is, it also has some validity to it. I wouldn't say that there is such a thing as "too much love", but I would say that there is such a thing as too much passion.

When I have my mind set on a time or goal, there's the risk that I get so involved that my efforts start turning into errors. I hate the idea of saying I should be more passive and less passionate, but I really think this is one of my weak spots. My fear is that I'll rest and lose my goal. However in the shop, I tell runners all the time about letting their goals come to them, and not worrying about "losing their base" or "missing their chance". A distance or pace goal may simply not be possible this month or year. Like a child trying to catch flies, sometimes there's just no amount of talent or luck to do so directly (emphasis on directly).

And so I rest. The goal may still be just as impossible, but at least I'm not making any more mistakes. Rest is sometimes indirect progress, and it's something I'm starting to believe more in. Running and relationships are unknowns. There's not enough science or psychology to predict an outcome with 100% confidence (prob and stats tell us there's almost no degree of confidence in some of these situations due to expanding variable lists). Without rest, we reach the definition of insanity (doing something wrong repeatedly and achieving the same undesired results). With rest comes introspection and insight (perhaps my two favorite words).

When we understand a problem exactly, we can work against more specific challenges involved or move on to a more realistic problem. Rest gives us this chance to think critically and clearly even if it may mean scaling back goals. My passionate mind fights this idea, by my logical mind accepts it's benefits.

The Long Beach Marathon in 4 weeks is now a 3 part goal: 1) Run better than 2:53 2) Gain confidence/build speed for Javelina 3) Break 2:40. I have just a few more workouts that I can do that can actually build my speed. My over-training has dictated more rest than I'm accustomed to, and I'm just going to have to deal with it until I'm 100%.

My personal goal is to not be a minus in anyone's life. I've had some great times this summer with some very supportive and generous friends, and I have a lot to be grateful for. My passionate nature can make me a minus sometimes, and though I love interacting with everyone as much as I can, I need to know when to turn off my passion to make things easier for friends. I'm in training, and taking 18 units. There is plenty to keep me busy now and focused now. I'll be trying to work with efficiency in the next few weeks, but it's still so hard to turn my passion of when I'm having a great day. Maybe I'm not meant to be anything but passionate, but I know I can at least try to control it for the better. Rest and introspection hold great potential for superior performances down the road..

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