On accountability

Today was a long day.  It started bright and early at Lambeth House, with Erin, Rebecca, and I manning the omelet station, which was awesome.  I always loved working breakfast or brunch at restaurants because people are so happy to have a special, hot breakfast served to them.  I think this is because most people don’t take the time to fix something delicious for themselves regularly, which they should, but if they don’t I’m happy to be the one to serve it to them.  Smiles all around.  Shout out to Erin, the expert omelet flipper.

The rest of the day went by fast, with several catered functions held at Lambeth today and prep for our cocktail party tomorrow, we were on our feet workin’ up a storm until 2:30.  I came home exhausted and waited for the air conditioner man to work his magic, which he did, and now we have a comfortable house again!  Thank god!

My poor dog got kind of neglected yesterday with all the A/C trouble, so once we were all set with that I leashed up the pup and went for a walk to meet Ellen a couple miles away.  We sat and talked, I miss not seeing her every day now that orientation is over and we don’t share the same rotation.

Ellen and I planned on a gym trip at 7, and our chat lingered until almost 6:30, so she dropped Louie and I back home, I changed, picked out a 4-mile route from the gym around the park and back for some post-run weight lifting, and got in the car. But not after narrowly avoiding crashing into our gate, which luckily was witnessed by Andrea so if you need a re-enactment of my less than stellar driving skills I’m sure she would oblige.

The run

It was getting a little dark by the time I set out for my four miles.  I wouldn’t say it felt good when I set out, but it was certainly comforting.  Even so, at just about a mile there was a little voice in my head saying: well, if you walk the last mile on the way back, 3 is still pretty good for your first week back.  …what??  What is that?  The voice nagged me throughout my entire run, but luckily I got to the park soon after that original thought crossed my mind.

I had planned out my run to include Audobon simply because I’m familiar with it and it’s pretty, but as I got there it turns out there was something else really important about it: other runners.  I don’t care how out of shape I am, having another runner in front of me is incredible motivation.  That little voice kept coming back: nobody is expecting you to run a lot this week, you can quit now if you want.  This is not something that happens to me!   I am a girl who will stubbornly finish out a run through heat and dehydration, pain and tight schedules, just because I had planned it that way.  Stupid, I know, but I am one stubborn girl (syn.: runner).  I’ve never been tempted like this to quit, except for the last few runs of marathon training before that fateful diagnosis three and a half months ago.  I did everything I could to fight that voice, and finished the run strong, as I had planned.  Turns out that I ran much better than I have been: 3.99 miles in 29:29, or 7:22 min/mile

That nagging little voice brought up something important: accountability.  It was saying that nobody is holding me accountable for good runs right now, so why should I bother?  Even though I almost gave into it, I remembered that I need to be accountable to myself.  Whether or not anyone else is expecting anything of me, I need to expect myself to try hard, to put forth a good effort.  When the voice got loud, I asked myself Lauren, do you actually feel bad? The answer was no.  I felt fine.  There was some water sloshing around in my stomach but that’s nothing to deter a true runner, that’s just a little extra hydration!  I decided that I had higher standards for myself, and I stuck to em.

That being said, it is really helpful to have other people hold you accountable for your goals.  Whether those are running-related, or have to do with other lifestyle changes like weight loss, following a healthy diet, exercising more, or taking more time for yourself; it helps to have someone check in on you to make sure you aren’t making excuses to half-ass it.  It’s very possible that I would have quit running if I hadn’t gotten a bunch of cold weather running clothes for Christmas a few years ago.  Opening those presents, I realized that other people expected this of me, that they were proud of what I had done, and that they would support me in my running future.  Knowing the power of others’ expectations, I made sure to talk about my first marathon AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE after I had signed up for it last summer.  When you tell everyone you need to go to bed early for your 20-mile run the next day, everyone is going to ask you how that run went sometime in the near future.  When things don’t go as planned, I don’t want to be the girl that says “Well, I just wasn’t feelin’ it, so I quit early!”  No way.  I want to be the girl that says: “Well, it wasn’t the best run but I had a really awesome song stuck in my head and it was really sunny so I had a good time.  Plus I saved a baby turtle that was trying to cross the road so it was super awesome.”  Yeah, that happened once.  Good karma and a long run in one shot.

Running is a sport that takes little more than a true effort, but that is easier said than done.  You need to put everything you’ve got into it every time, especially when it gets rough.  And the bottom line is, although you need to be harsh on yourself sometimes, it really helps to have somebody else there to keep you honest.  So go, tell people you’re training for a half marathon, trying to lose ten pounds, or trying to save money to go visit a friend on the other side of the country.  They’ll help you get where you need to be.

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One Response to On accountability

  1. Pingback: Running recap, week 1 | Powered by Oatmeal

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