This is a story about control…

February 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away) | 5 Comments

… my control.

Whining yesterday about how my hobbies are ALL! RUINED! by my inability to actually DO something WITHOUT, you know, having to MASTER it really got me thinking.

This running thing?

Boils down to ONE thing.


Because I’ll be honest.

I’ve not always felt this way about running. I mean, I enjoyed how I felt AFTER a run before now. And back then, I always had MOMENTS where, as I was running, I felt good.

But this is a whole new mindgame.

When I say I love running, I mean I REALLY LOVE RUNNING. Right now I’m on a three day-a-week running schedule. And by the night before my run, I’m grumpy and annoyed and frustrated. It’s enough that J’s commented on the fact.

If there’s a snowstorm and I can’t run, I get upset.

When I had my sinus infection a couple of weeks ago, I ignored the nurse’s warning to stop running until I felt better.

There have been runs which, in the middle, I’ve actually thought to myself that I understand how a person can be addicted to drugs.

My friend D calls me obsessed.

She’s right, of course.

I am the classic oldest child. The overachiever. And for whatever reason, when I do something, I feel this need to PROVE that I can be good at it.

(If I want to get all pyschobabble and navel gaze about it, it’s probably because I always felt like my parents’ love was conditional when I was a kid. But whatever.)

The one thing I know about myself is that my happiness is directly correlated to how much I improve on my PERFORMANCE of that hobby.

And it’s all about control.

Truly, with the acceptance of our infertility, I imagined that I had ceded all control of my life to some Other Thing out there. That I had NO impact on outcomes, only putting the pieces in place to make something happen.

Believe it or not, it’s carried over into parenting very well. Because, certainly. With an infant and toddler, you can’t MAKE them do anything. You can’t FORCE an outcome. All you can do is put tools into place to INFLUENCE them to make a certain decision.

But this running thing.

I’m seeing RESULTS. It’s the one thing in my life where, if I work hard enough and put in the work, I get the outcome that I want. I run up the hill that always defeats me. I run a 10k in less than an hour. I shave inches off my butt, my thighs. I lose 20lbs and maintain a weight which I haven’t seen in maybe 20 YEARS.

And I’m finding that – wait a second! – there ARE things over which I have control.

And, in my typical overachieving self, I need to see just how GOOD I can be at this running thing in order to be happy.

Until I decide that I’m never going to be good enough as I want, and it’s not worth doing it anymore.

And I find ANOTHER hobby and repeat the same spiral.


So I’m saying it here, right now.

I’m stopping this spiral.

I will continue to work at this running thing to see how good I CAN be at it.

But I will never be an elite runner.

And I will stop comparing myself to chicks like Treadmill Girl.

Because really. Running a 10k in under an hour should be good enough for ME.

I’m the only person judging me – no one else is.

I am in control.

And I love it.



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  1. I would think, too, that an enjoyable aspect of running outdoors and training must be that you have carved this time out for yourself. Most runners say they get into this zone that is very mind-clearing. And it’s a good way to work off frustration and gain energy.

    Not to negate your own theory — just my thoughts!

  2. I was anti-treadmill for a long time but have since gone to the dark side. I can say that my running time and stamina have both improved for tread runs and street runs. A major improvement over street runs alone. Like, I’ve dropped a minute off my mile in 2 months time. That kind of major.

    It is true that you can psychobabble away almost any impulse, but I think it’s a good thing to gun for something that is important to you. There’s a difference between reckless ambition and pure drive and motivation. The latter will make you a success, the former a mess.

  3. That is SO me. Overacheiver, must be good at everything. No wait! Not good – the best! I’ve got to the point where if I am not the best, I quit. How bad is that?!

    You’re totally inspiring me to start running again. Although, sadly, it’s going to have to wait until after busy season.

    Now I should pick one hobby and stick with it too! 🙂

  4. Oh yes, I see it. But you’re right – there are things you can control and things you can’t, and it’s great to be able to feel your control, so long as you can realise where it stops and be happy with that. You sound like you’re getting it pretty spot on at the moment!


  5. I was thinking about your post when I wrote mine. I wish I had something that made me feel as passionate that was just ALL mine to enjoy. Enjoy that rush every moment you can.

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