Archive for July 27th, 2009

Just Do It

Ultrarunner Kristin Corris

Ultrarunner Kirstin Corris

To run or not to run, that is the question.  The answer, for me, is easy. I have to run.  Not because it is a compulsion or an addiction but because I have set it up that way.  Eighteen years ago when I originally made the decision to lose weight and get fit I started with a goal – a weight goal, but also something more tangible to work towards.  Even before the weight started to drop, I decided to run a race.  Since then I always have a goal in mind.

Currently I am training for the Baltimore Marathon.  The goal works for the long term.  It keeps me from missing a week or even several days of training because I know I will not be able to complete the goal without the training.  But an individual day is another matter.  That is when I start to question myself.  Do I really need that run today?  The commercial tells us to “just do it” and that has become my mantra.  I just do it.  If there is a run on the books and I really don’t want to do it, all I have to do is put on my running clothes.   This sounds like a small step, but it isn’t.  Sometimes that first step is harder than the marathon.  The bed is calling, an article is beating against the inside of my head, begging to get out but I still have to take that first step.

The struggle with myself continues until I step out the door and start putting one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes it lasts longer, and I have to trick myself into one mile, and then two until I finally complete the six, eight or ten mile run I have scheduled for that day.

Inevitably these end up being my best runs.  I don’t have an explanation for that.  I wish I did.  What I do know is that the “just do it” trick works with just about anything.  Cooking – okay, I don’t want to cook but all I have to do is look up a recipe, something new and see what happens from there.  Cleaning my house – fine just a quick run through to pick up the dirty clothes, then the rubbish, then the toys and suddenly I have a clean house.

In writing there is a saying as well, “apply seat of pants to seat of chair.”  It is the same theory.  There are days I do not feel like writing.  There is nothing worthwhile to write about, but I know that one of my clients is waiting for a piece so I sit in front of the computer and I start typing.  It never fails.  I type until something flows.  Just like running I have to find the rhythm, but when it comes I find I have written the most unexpected story.

Maybe the great runs and the sudden inspiration in my writing are rewards for perseverance.  Maybe it is a matter of greasing the gears.  But it makes me wonder how many other ways our perseverance can get us ahead in our lives.  How many people can relate to this dread and the “just do it” attitude?  Are there doctors, attorneys, or politicians who don’t want to save a life, pen a deal or fight for a new law, who “just do it” and fight through the dread and accomplish something life changing?

And if there are, what does this mean for the rest of my life.  How can I apply the attitude to other areas of my life?  How can I give this attitude to my children so they may have the same successes I find?  So, maybe the question isn’t to run or not to run.  Maybe the question is to do, or not to do.  And if so, the answer will always to be, to do.

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