Where does the time go? This past week has been a busy one. I bet most of us could say the same, right?
In some ways I feel like I am still recovering from the grueling but exhilarating experience of Epic5. But that was 6 weeks ago and I keep saying to myself
“Come on! Get it together! ”
I am sure most people have experienced those times in life when it feels like you are just barely keeping your head above water. There is just so much to balance: training, working on fund raising, coordinating with my crew, endless emails and phone calls.
I am so used to my routine of wake up, get training session #1 done, eat, take care of some emails and phone calls, go train some more, eat, crash out for the night, wake up and start it all over again. This week has been more like: wake up to 10 emails in need of urgent response, phone calls, email, eat, head out the door for training session # 1 but before the door even closes behind me my phone is ringing–more fires to put out.
And then I remember “Ah, yes. This is one of those crazy, busy seasons in life and I have got to take some time, regroup and STRATEGIZE. If I don’t I will always be running behind and sooner or later I will fall behind.”
So that’s what I have done today.
Slow Down, Breathe, Refocus, Plan, Restructure. Strategize.
With so many irons in the fire, I gotta keep them in order.
My main focus right now is the H2OPE run for Operation Blessing that is coming up in less than 2 months. There is a lot to do there–working with the sponsors, arranging logistics, and training. The training–now that is turning out to be all the challenge I knew it would be and then some. Power walking on the treadmill at full incline for an hour and a half sounds a lot easier than running for 3 hours, right? Wrong. My body is so conditioned for the rigors of endurance running that walking up and up and up and up is ridiculously new and unbelievably taxing.
And then there’s the heat aspect. A lot of people who have never visited do not realize how hot it can get here in Hawaii. Brutally hot. And humid. In the past I have always regarded this as something of a nuisance and a lot of times I would run at night to avoid the heat. Well, knowing the inferno that awaits me in Death Valley I find myself saying to the stifling heat of the day “Bring it on. You think you can take me down? You’re just going to make me stronger.” This bravado, however, does not diminish the wrath that the intense heat and humidity wield over my strength.
The training is delightfully demanding and I am always wanting more of it–it is new and challenging and I thrive on that. In the past I’ve always been able to train as long as I wanted and I would be utterly exhausted at the end of the day. So much has changed. Life has gotten fuller, busier. So much to balance, so much to keep track of, so much that matters–that I cannot get behind on.
This is when I know it is time for me to GET IN THE LAB.
In my book I talk about my habit and discipline of “getting into the Lab” when I am in need of intense focus in order to prepare for what’s in front of me.
“The Laboratory is my custom-created training environment–a lifestyle, really. To do what I do, I have to be single-minded, putting my complete focus, twenty-four hours a day, on the things that get me ready mentally and physically for a punishing race. The Laboratory is everything around me–my living space, the town I live in, my training regimen, my diet, my coaching, my friends, my time with God–all calibrated to achieve the goal of getting me successfully to the finish line of an Ironman, Ultraman, or other extreme race.”
I need to get into the Lab. Oh, wait. I am in the Lab. Hmmmmm…well, then, I think I need to redesign my Lab, to rethink what it looks like to be in the Lab.
I remember reading a quote by Brian G. Dyson where he talked about life being like a juggling act–we are all juggling so many things: work, family, friends, health…some of these are rubber balls and if we drop them for a while it’s okay–they will bounce back up and we can catch them later. But some of these are glass balls and if we drop them they are likely to get scuffed, damaged or even shatter.
So my day of stepping back, regrouping, redesigning my strategy starts with this: What in my life is a rubber ball and what is fragile as glass?
I have to face it–some things are going to have to be put on hold for the next 10 weeks.
–Okay, so obviously I can’t drop training for the 306 H2OPE run. That is a glass ball for sure.
–What about all of the logistical arrangements for the run and working with sponsors? Can’t drop that. There’s another glass ball.
But I am blessed to have people in my life, on my team, that I can toss some of these glass balls to and I know that they won’t let them drop.
–Hanging out with friends? My totally amazing friends here in Kona who have become like family to me? I am very blessed in my friends and they understand when I need to be “in the Lab”. That’s a rubber ball I look forward to catching later.
So that leaves me with training and coordinating details for the 306. Can’t drop either. Raising funds for Operation Blessing so that they can save lives is the big picture here and I won’t let anything get in the way of that.
This is where the new strategy comes in. I am going to have to start planning my days around my changed circumstances and the fact that I can’t go into hermit mode and just train. Alright, no worries. This is doable. With a few tweaks to my schedule, remembering that I am a few time zones behind most of the people I am working with, I create a new schedule–and voila, my “Lab” is redesigned. I’m still “in the Lab”, I just changed it around a bit.
Already I feel I can breathe a little easier. The quiet and still of calmness returns in my spirit and my mind is a lot less cluttered.
Tomorrow is a new day and a new chance.
An new chance to finish my to-do list. A new day to train my body for the 306 miles of desert waiting to test my mettle. A new day to make the most of all that I have been given.
Well, thanks for letting me think out loud…or think via typing, which I guess is one function of a blog.
So, what’s cluttering up your Lab? What is your big, huge, awesome, extreme–in a word, epic –goal? What are the rubber balls and what are the glass balls in your life? (Hint: Family is always a glass ball. Things like TV and Facebook are always rubber balls.)
Something to Think About
Till next week,