The Broad Street Run is this weekend. In my office is my Lo & Sons O.G. bag, filled with the things I need for a Philadelphia weekend.
There’s one thing that’s not in my bag: my Garmin Forerunner 405.
To focus on my goals of having fun and finishing the race, I have to be distanced from any notions of time (see what I did there?). Does that mean I won’t do mental calculations when I run by race clocks? Of course not. But instead of scowling at my watch, I want to pay attention to what’s around me.
Lately, I’ve been surrounded by messages on the need to appreciate what we’re doing in any particular moment. Instead of focusing on the external factors that are causing frustration, it’s worth it to step back, assess, and find the highlights of a situation. Now, this doesn’t apply to truly shitty situations — and your mileage may vary as to what you consider a truly shitty situation to be.
I’m not talking about accepting God’s will and making the best of it. (Hi! Atheist here!) I’m not talking about stopping to smell the roses. What I am talking about is making the effort to examine what upsets you and making active changes to better process those things and more thoroughly enjoy what’s going on in your life.
I’ve been doing this incrementally. When my anxiety was so high that being on Metro was sending me into panic attacks, I started seeing a wonderful therapist who helped me get back to the point where I enjoy being on Metro (though, admittedly, that’s also a function of not having to be on Metro that much anymore). It involved changing how I think about situations and recognizing my own resiliency.
Oh, that’s not to say I don’t have negative moments. I’m only human. If I stayed serene all the time, I think the people around me might want to kick my ass. Hell, I might want to kick my ass.
No, but it is pulling back from things and saying, “How can I process these negative feelings?” Part of being able to do this is saying, “Yep, I’m pissed/angry/upset/annoyed/jealous. Acknowledged and allowed. Now what to do to make things better for me?”
So I am pissed/angry/upset/annoyed about Cherry Blossom and jealous of everyone who had a great race. I let myself kick around for a day and tried to get back on track. My body wasn’t down with that, so I had to reassess; what really matters about running 10 miles on a spring day?
My friends and family are cheering me on. I’m able to stand in a crowd, on a Sunday, waiting for the gun to go off so I can willingly run 10 miles. There will be a mass of people who come out for the sole purpose of encouraging us. I’m able to travel to another city, to race, for the hell of it. Race energy is the best kind of energy — why wouldn’t I try to enjoy it and ignore the clock? I know I can finish a race under tough circumstances.
In order to appreciate all of the above, I need to toss the one thing that would keep me anchored to unrealistic expectations: my Garmin.
Sure, I love that thing. It’s a great way to challenge myself. But for this race, in this moment, I’m less interested in my net time.
I’m more interested in keeping my eyes up and ears open.