Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dedication and Obsession

OK, so just as I post, whining about how I can't think of anything new to say any more, something pops into my head. (On that subject, I'm not intending to delete this any time soon, or stop posting, just to realise that it's better to post something interesting infrequently than the same old crap day after day without adding anything new or interesting).

Anyway, back to the subject, even though I'm no longer focussing on losing, it occured to me how controlling and obsessive I've got about my food and exercise, sometimes without realising it.

The first example is food related. I spent Friday lunchtime working out my menus for the week, and then went food shopping on Friday night. (The life of a marathon runner in training, who can't afford to have social life induced hangovers, so ends up in the supermarket at 9pm on a Friday). It was only when I got back that I realised that I'd arranged to go to a Spanish conversation group on Wednesday evening. And my first thought? Well, I can't go now, I already have my food planned.

Hang on. Much as I like to incorporate good food, as opposed to takeaway ready meal fatty simple carb crap, into my diet (used in the general sense, of what I eat), since when did my food likes and dislikes take over the rest of my life. Yes, if I'm going somewhere and it's possible to eat well as opposed to crappily then I will do the preparation to make sure I can eat well, but if I can't, well, which is more important, making a slightly less good choice or giving up on my life? I've been getting better about going out there and enjoying myself, even if it is the sort of enjoyment that comes with a coolbag and lots of healthy snacks, but sometimes when I forget about the life plan before I make the food plan I slip back into anal tendencies.

Happily I think I've knocked my obsessiveness on the head this time and persuaded myself that it's OK to change the plan once in a while. There's a difference between planning round my life and arranging my life round my planning. After all, I don't want to turn into someone who weighs sliced bread.

Still, I do still try to make sure I can fit my runs round whatever else I have planned. If it means getting up even earlier, I do it. If it means taking it easy on the booze (even free booze at work does!) then I take it easy. This morning I had a bit of an abortive long run (the details are on BerlinBlog), and I spent most of the walk home mentally rejigging my schedule for the next month working out how to fit an extra long run in, and which cutback week to drop out of the schedule.

I was comparing my attitude to my trainee at work. He's meant to be training for the Great North Run, which is the week after Berlin. So he is running out of time at roughly the same speed I am. Except that he doesn't even seem to have got started yet. Every week he comes up with another excuse of why he didn't go for a run. Now, while I don't advocate being totally obsessive (and there are times when I've adjusted my schedule in advance to take account of other stuff I want to do, trips to London and holidays, for example, once a run is on the schedule I do it. I don't wake up in the morning and listen to excuses, I get out there and I do it. I don't sit in the pub until last orders thinking that it doesn't really matter. It does. Or it does to me.

I guess some people would just be happy with finishing, and completing a marathon. But for me, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it properly. The same goes for eating and pretty much everything in my life. So when I've planned something out, the temptation to stick to the plan is sometimes overwhelming. (Admittedly sometimes my food plan goes along the lines of a couple of planned meals and "a few treats, depending what I feel like"), but that's still the plan and something I can hold myself accountable to.

For something like marathon training I guess a bit of obsession isn't such a bad thing, but I'm still trying to get to grips with being a bit less anal when it comes to other stuff.


Blogger Shauna said...

obsession would have to be VITAL for marathon training... i can think of few other tasks that require such focus and dedication :) obsessiveness would be a desireable trait.

but i totally agree with the other side of the coin, i know i have been getting quite cranky lately coz of all these social events it have coming up that are getting in the way of PLAN, darnit. it's hard to chill out about it, i'm slowly gettin there.

hope you have a good week, woohoo!

12:48 PM  

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