Friday, March 30, 2012

Being Flexible

When I moved to France for a year to work with a campus ministry, the company put us through a fantastic orientation.  One of the things that stuck with me throughout that year and beyond is the necessity of being flexible.  When you travel overseas, you cannot allow your expectations to get the best of you.  Some aspect of your plans always gets disrupted, delayed, or destroyed altogether.  You've got to be able to just let it roll of your back.

I've found this attitude to be incredibly freeing in many situations.  It can seriously prevent the "everything is going wrong" kind of stress.

For example, I'm travelling to a job site to provide 2nd shift support during a system go-live.  My flight is delayed, so I will not make it to the site at the scheduled time.  No big deal.  It can't be helped.  I make the phone calls to inform the necessary people, make sure someone from my company can stay on shift an extra hour to cover me, and sit peacefully in the airport waiting for my flight.

This is not just applicable to travel or work.  Flexibility has also allowed me to enjoy my athletic life more.  Let's say I'm training for an upcoming race, and I have something filling my after-work schedule every single day this week.  No need to fret.  I'll bring my running clothes to work a couple days this week and get a workout in over lunch.

Or perhaps it's race day.  I've been training for months to maybe get an age group placement.  I've got all my gear dialed in.  I've got my goal time in mind.  I've got family in attendance to cheer me on.  But it's 15 degrees hotter than I'm used to.  The sun is blazing.  I'm tired from a long week at work.  I start the race feeling OK but quickly start to drag.  The hills are killing me.  I'm not going to meet my goal.  I could get upset and disappointed.  All the work I've put in is not paying off as I had hoped.  But I can be flexible.  I can shift my goals.  Instead of running for speed, I'll run to enjoy the woods.  I'll run because I can.  I'll picture myself staying strong through the hard days so I can keep running like this 10 years from now...or 20...or 30.

Right now, I'm in the middle of one of those busy weeks where I wouldn't have gotten a single run or bike ride in if I had limited myself to doing it after work.  So I ran over my lunch hour.  It was perfect.  And I will enjoy my weekend, too, before flying off to SC for another 2-week work trip.  More opportunities to be flexible, I'm sure!

It's not always easy to stay in a flexible frame of mind.  Emotions can get the best of me.  Stress can make my heart rate soar and my temper flare.  But if I remember to think about it before a trip or a race, flexibility can save the day.

This week so far:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Ran 5.7 miles total from my office - Ran 2 to Cascade Park, did 3x2:00 and 3x2:30 AI's through the park, Ran 2 back.  Total time 52:38.  Avg mile 9:15.
There are some brutal hills on the road to the park!  Combine that with 25mph winds, and it was a tough run!

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Ran 6 miles with 4x1:30 AI's and 6 strides.  Total time 54:26.  Avg mile 9:04.  
The run felt tough, but it was still a faster pace than yesterday!  I hope I can continue to get faster.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic attitude. I try to adopt a similar approach to life .... now. Not so much when I was younger. I think it was good that I got into distance running and races as I closed in on 40 rather than in my 20s. I was wound way too tight back then. Having kids was a turning point in my ability to be patient and accepting.