Fine Tuning

A few years ago I had the urge to “pretty-up” the front yard. I prepared the soil around my big oak tree. I purchased Hostas and some annual “filler” flowers. I pulled out the appropriate tools and I began.

My son in law came over to help me and asked, “What layout would you like me to use for the Hostas?”

I said, “Random. I want it to look random.”

He looked at my like I had five heads. He knows that my symmetry-oriented brain would not allow for random placement of anything, especially plants in my garden.

He asked, “Random? Are you sure?”

“YES! I’m sure. I want it to look natural.”

Being the skeptic that he is about my ability to be “random” (and due to the fact that he is a smart ass), he took all the Hostas and put them together in one clump, then looks proudly and asked, “How’s that?” My daughter stood off to the side, giggling, and waiting for my head to explode.

I said, “OK.”

I then proceeded to dig the holes in which to place the Hostas at even intervals around the tree. He and my daughter agreed with each other that the holes I was digging were in no way, shape, or form RANDOM.

Now, I tell you that story so that you’ll understand this one.

On Monday I begin my “official” training for April’s VERY FIRST EVER half marathon. To say that I’m very nervous about this training and impending race would be an understatement. I have freaked out, pulled myself off the ledge, freaked out again, calmed myself down some more, and on and on. This is a very different experience than the big race I trained for last year. That race was a team race. Where I had weaknesses, there would be someone else with strengths to counterbalance me. This race is all on me! There is no counterbalance. There is nobody to fall back on. It is do or die. Not literally, I hope, but very much in the forefront of my brain. I will succeed or fail on my own with no buffers around me.

I was going over my training plan once again. This is something I’ve done every day for the last two weeks. Look at the plan. See where the weaknesses are in the plan. Try to adjust for anything that might trip me up and cause me to fail.

I was talking to my sister the other day (which could have been five years ago for all I know) and she looked over my plan and asked what my tempo runs were meant to be. Well, I couldn’t give her a specific answer. I had to sit back and think about my paces. Where am I right now? What is my goal for my race? How do I get from where I am now to where I need to be to accomplish my goal? What IS my goal? Is it realistic? So many questions to answer after one simple question from my sister.

Thus began the fine-tuning. I went through the various elements of my training and set some specific interval times and interval distances and recovery time frames. And then I chuckled, and my mind went back in time to my son in law helping me with Hostas.

My definitions BEFORE fine-tuning my plan. Ah, the randomness that is the Fartlek! I even made sure to put a note in there for myself to remember to be random.

And, true to form:

This is as random as I get, folks! I don’t know how to do asymmetrical anything. It is not in my vocabulary. I know this about myself and I accept this about myself. And I don’t even care that my son in law gives me crap about this character flaw! If something can give me a chuckle in the midst of a possible melt down, then I consider it a win, and am happy for it.

I know that as runners we are cautioned to not get so caught up in the plan that we become inflexible, but my brain works way better if I have everything lined out to a tee. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you don’t have a perfect plan in place how do you know where you can make adjustments should life get in the way? So I have my perfect plan in place (which I am not sharing with you for fear someone will try to have me committed), and I know exactly what needs to be done between Monday and April 8th. AND I know where I can make adjustments should something unexpected come up.

Now I breathe, and brace myself for what is to come!

 

 

 

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