July 23, 2012

The Perfection Trap

Hi, my name is Christine and I am a perfectionist.  It's part of everything I do in life - at work, running, the cookies I bake, the decor in my home, parties I throw...you name it, I try to perfect it, often at the expense of my personal sanity.  
That's me pouring champagne before my 30th Birthday party that I not only threw
but entirely catered, for myself.  Crazy?  Totally!!  And the food was all on my china...so not
exactly simple to clean up! Oh yea, the flowers?  Arranged those myself too.  All 4 arrangements.
 It was a fabulous party with dear friends and family, but the effort wasn't worth it!
While at times my perfectionist tendencies serve me well, like in the case of a high-visibility presentation at work.  But at times, it is my own worst enemy.  I've had to battle this part of my innate personality quite significantly since I started running.  And I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of distance runners struggle with this in some capacity.

Long distance running requires a lot of diligence.  To train for a long race, you have to be willing to invest time and energy and more time and energy.  It's exhausting at times and trying at others.  To have a 10 mile run on the docket and only be able to finish 7 kinda sucks.  It's easy to beat yourself up and doubt your training, or even worse, your ability.  I'm guilty of all of these things.  When I can take a step back from the temporary frustration, I remind myself that I do this for recreation and my ability to pay my mortgage or be a good puppy mama doesn't depend on how fast I ran my tempo run.  At the end of the day, I'm grateful that I have the time, health and resources to do these races that require diligent preparation.

I learned in my very first half marathon, that no matter what the preparation, things can go wrong.  In some cases terribly wrong!  It was a good lesson for me.  And ever since that race, I take things a little more lightly and am grateful for a happy finish, even if my time isn't all that great.

Even though I often don't take my own advice, I'll dish it out!  It is fun to enjoy the journey of training for a long race and see how far you've come, whether it's running half a mile in between walk intervals, hitting an 8mm pace, or running mile repeats faster than you ever have.  I encourage you to do as I say, not as I do, and enjoy the training phase and to revel in the fortitude that comes with training for long races.  Regardless of how fast or slow you run, you're still an amazing athlete for even considering the feat, let alone completing it!


1 comment:

  1. Sweet Girl, this may be my favorite post of yours EVER. Thank you for your transparency! I am a recovering perfectionist (I had twins so I kind of had to get over it or die trying), and living in the world of "good enough" is a much more gracious and loving place to live from. Loved this!!