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New 10K PR // Quick Sand or Hurdle

New 10K PR // Quick Sand or Hurdle

    It' been a awhile. Way longer of a break from blogging than I intended to take, but life happens. Actually, scratch that, that's a terrible excuse. Most dedicated/passionate runners would have been dying to write a long, rambling, very detailed post about how they had yet again set a new outdoor 10K PR completely by accident and on what is usually a rest day nonetheless. And I would normally characterize myself as someone who would do just that. However, I've had another topic that I've been wanting write about for awhile now. I honestly planned on writing it up Wednesday afternoon after I got back home from Iowa City. But, I just didn't feel ready to settle in for what was sure to be an emotional riddled post, so I told myself I'd do it tomorrow (aka yesterday). Then the PR happened and I just assumed that was something deserving it's own separate post, and the quick sand/hurdle debate could really be done anytime. Yet, here we are, trying to cram them both into one single rambly post the day before the big trip to the Mall of America. And we still haven't even begun that big huge important paper that is due December 4th. Well, this Thanksgiving break is off to an unproductive start so far.

    So, yesterday's run, was pretty fanfreakingtastic. I was a little nervous about letting my iPod just play on shuffle rather than utilizing a specific playlist for my first outdoor run of break. Because, well, putting your iPod on shuffle and running outside in small town Iowa without headphones is equivalent to playing Russian roulette. Maybe you'll get all the really good, high energy songs that will make a 6-8 mile run feel like a breeze and you'll easily cruise to a PR. Or, maybe you'll get all the super slow songs that leave you feeling completely unmotivated to push the pace and ready to stop midrun and take a break on the sidewalk every few blocks. Or, (and this is I swear what happens every fracking time I play this game of roulette) you get decent songs and then BAM! super awkward song plays the minute you are within like 50 feet of someone, anyone who happens to be outside, in the semi-dark between the hours of 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. Lovely. Just lovely. Why don't ya just have me trip over air and face plant right in front of someone while we're at it. Anyway, Thursday's run just happened to be one of those runs. Thing started off awesome, a little fast the first few miles, but my legs were ready to run, and run fast. The first two big hills felt easy peezy! I was flying through town and really focusing on using my arms to push me forward through the chilly morning air. When I eventually hit the halfway point and started to get tired, it was one of those incredibly upbeat, yet at the same time, awkward songs that got me to really push myself outside of my comfort zone. Oh, and the fact that I just decided that when things got hard I needed to pretend I was running with someone else. I didn't really have anyone in particular in mind, so I frequently switched up who that was throughout the run. I feel like this strategy helped a lot, mainly because it kept me from slowing down when things got tough/painful. Nothing too exciting or out the ordinary happened on this record setting run, and that's perfectly fine with me. I hope the rest of my runs coming up can go just as smoothly (but I mean it's me we're talking about so obviously something is gonna happen to cause me to hit the panic button aka this morning's incident during lap two of my 7 mile run or I'll fall on my face while tripping over my own feet).

    Now, for the post that has literally been writing itself in my head for the past several days: Quick Sand or Hurdle? An odd question to ask, when you have zero context as to what I am referring to. And who in their right mind would voluntarily choose to attempt to treck through a pit of quick sand when they could simply jump over a hurdle (or go around it/under it theoretically)? Well let me set the scene for you people and explain the pros/cons of each option. Maybe tell you which one I am a fan of (although honestly if ya know me even just a little bit, ya know which one ya girl is choosing).

    In life, there are always, always going to be obstacles/dilemmas/difficult decisions placed in your path. There is no big book of situation in which you can find the answer to exactly how to handle all the crazy shit that life decides to throw your way. And no matter how many time you say to yourself, "This is not baseball, I am not athletically coordinated in any way, so just quit throwing these damn curve balls my way!" life will just keep it up, while you try to (unsuccessfully most of the time) duck, dodge, and avoid these obstacles/dilemmas. That's where the quick sand/hurdle debate comes in. I find the best approach to deciding what to do when it comes to these obstacles is to make your approach to them and either/or decision. Because let's be real, not doing anything or just pulling a Forrest Gump and running away are not viable options. So, what do hurdles and quick sand have to do with this whole decision-making process anyway?

    Basically, the way I see it, when it comes to making a decision/dealing with something that is scary/stressful/completely outside of your realm of capability and you have no clue how to even begin to deal with it, you've got two realistic options. You go for the "hurdle." In this scenario you decide to just take a leap of faith and see where it gets you. There's no long, drawn out debate about this situation, or consideration given to all the possible outcomes. You go in knowing that you will either successfully clear the hurdle when you jump or fall flat on your face and fail. There is no in-between, you know almost instantly whether you have succeed or failed. It's a risky move. There's no turning back once you take that first step off the ground and begin liftoff. But, at least you know sooner rather than later where you stand in regards to the obstacle/dilemma/situation. And you can walk away knowing that, no matter what the outcome, you were brave enough to take that leap of faith.

    Or, you could decide to go the quick sand route. Now, when you think of quicksand you probably think of long, drawn out failure. Or getting stuck deciding how to approach the obstacle and never having the actual courage to make a decision one way or the other. Well throw that thinking out the window, because I have a different definition for the term given our current scenario. You decide that if you just had more information, more time, a chance to ask someone more knowledgeable for advice, the opportunity to really decide if this is an obstacle even worth your time in trying to overcome. That's where the quick sand option comes in. You go in knowing that you have done zero planning/stratigizing on how best to approach things, and aim to take the time to gather the facts and come up with what you think is right approach for you to successfully overcome this obstacle. Sure, you might spend a lot of time stuck in one specific place/stage and yes you will absolutely feel like you are not progressing fast enough toward your end goal. But, unlike the hurdle option, you have the opportunity to turn back if you feel like the situation is a lost cause or you just can't settle on one specific approach to dealing with the obstacle. Turning around isn't necessarily akin to running away from/not dealing with the problem, it could just mean shelving it for awhile and devoting attention to a different obstacle you feel better prepared to overcome. Or, it could mean completely ditching the quick sand approach and opting for the hurdle approach instead. How does one do this? Let's get into it.

    So, you find yourself waist deep, halfway through a pit of quick sand (maybe even surrounded by snakes?!) and now you think you've made the wrong decision in how best to handle the obstacle/dilemma you've set out to overcome. You find that you are way too in your head about it, that you've completely over analyzed the situation. Essentially, you need to just do more "doing" and less thinking. But, how do you go back, after you've come this far and spent this much time hashing out how best to approach this obstacle? The first step is to realize that life is unpredictable, short, and if you're really serious about overcoming whatever it is that you have set out to overcome, you need to be willing to accept that there is some always going to be some risk involved. You may have (as I certainly know that I have) set out with the quick sand approach with the idea that it was the safe, zero risk way to approach that obstacle/dilemma/difficult situation. Yet, here you are, more lost now than ever with far too many options to consider and way too may consequences/results to factor in to your decision. Once you have taken that first step all that's really left to do is ask yourself one simple question, "Is the payoff of overcoming this obstacle worth the reward long term?" If the answer is yes, then look over all of the possible consequences of the potential strategies you have come up with, and pick the one that scares you the most. If the answer is no, then by all means, shelve that obstacle and find one you feel ready to tackle and go through the whole quick sand/hurdle decision-making process again.

    Why chose the option that scares you the most? I mean the obstacle itself is probably pretty scary/intimidating, why add even more stress/anxiety to the situation by then choosing the approach that scares you the most? Well, because in my opinion, that is the only thing that is going to get you over that damn hurdle. As much as making that jump scares you, if you've made it to this point in your decision-making process, doing nothing should scare you more. So, you take a deep breath, and take that leap of faith fully knowing that there is no guarantee that things are going to work out in your favor. Knowing that you might fall flat on your face, but also knowing that after all this debate, and climbing out of the quick sand, that you have the strength and the courage to climb back up and try again.

    Both options have their benefits and there drawbacks. At the end of the day, it really comes down to: the type of obstacle/dilemma/difficult situation you find yourself faced, the amount of risk you are willing to take in tackling this obstacle/dilemma/difficult situation, and your own level of readiness in tackling in. If you really feel ready to go for it and are comfortable with the risk that goes with jumping the hurdle from the get go, then take that approach. If you feel that taking the time to weigh out all the options/consequences is the better option for your readiness level and your situation then take that approach, with the goal that by the end of it, you will have a solution/strategy that has you willing to take that leap of faith.

    I guess the perfect ending to a post like this one is for me to tell you which strategy I prefer and why. Or which strategy I have found has worked best for me and what types of situations/obstacles I used each strategy in. Well, I obviously prefer the quick sand approach, because I have the time to over analyze everything, convince myself the situation is a lost cause/I'm not willing to take the risk needed to get the results that I want. So, I'll spend awhile stuck in the middle of that quick sand pit, making zero progress, and then shelve the obstacle/dilemma/difficult situation and complain about it for the rest of eternity. No, I don't use this strategy for every difficult situation I am faced with, but I mean, I have been single for 21 years...so I'll let you decide just how much confidence I have in my hurdling/jumping abilities in general. Lastly, I wouldn't want to bore you with the whole "I used this strategy for this situation and this is why and this is how it turned out." That would take far to much time and frankly, I don't know that any of you would learn all that much from those stories.

    If you've made it to this point, I cannot thank you enough for sticking around. And I hope this post has/will help you in some way when it comes to making difficult decisions and/or overcoming any obstacle that is put in your path.

   
   
MALL OF AMERICA

MALL OF AMERICA

Caitlyn vs. Treadmill vs. Nine Page Paper

Caitlyn vs. Treadmill vs. Nine Page Paper