Saturday, July 21, 2012

Running on Water

There is nothing that complicates a running goal more than taking a vacation.

This past week, M and I took a cruise for our two-year wedding anniversary. Before that, I'd set a goal via Nike+ to run 9 miles a week for three weeks straight. I've been keeping on track, slowly upping my mileage, and feeling really good. The week of the cruise was the last week of the challenge.

I packed three pairs of running clothes and used the first the night before the cruise left. That meant that I could fit in two runs while on the cruise, and I absolutely planned to do it. Then I accidentally left my Nike+ chip in the car, which meant I couldn't use the actual track on the cruise if I planned to complete my goal while on vacation.

The realization of this hit me with much more force than I could have anticipated. I was basically inconsolable; I can upload my runs manually on Daily Mile, but without "proof" through the chip, my goal-setting on Nike+ would be lost. I would miss my goal, even if I met it.

After I had finished throwing a pretty embarrassing hissy fit, M and I figured out a solution. He uses Nike+ as well, but his iPhone is ensconced in the biggest, bulkiest case ever seen - it's waterproof, shockproof, and Life Proof. The case can only be removed 50 times before it stops being effective, which meant if I chose to use it, I had to strap that monstrosity to my arm. But it was better than nothing, so that was the plan.

One would think the treadmills in the gym on a cruise would overlook beautiful, glistening ocean...And they did. Kind of. Each was mounted with a TV screen that was impossible to see around. Wearing a heavy iPhone, running without my usual playlist, and watching a recap of the port's shopping choices left me feeling frustrated, to say the least. I stopped the run after a mile. The iPhone seemed to think I'd run more than that, but the treadmill was recording me at my usual pace; everything seemed completely off.

But, I returned the next day. This would set a new milestone: three days running in a row. I was determined to get in a real run, despite being tired, hot, and bursting at the seams with free food. The second run was better, but not great. I went further, but felt like my mind wasn't really in it.

I was forced by my lack of clean clothes to spend the last three days of the cruise relaxing - no running allowed.

I'm pretty disappointed with this week. I have three days to run six more miles to hit my 27-mile goal. I know I'll do it. But I wish I had better prepared myself to run on vacation. Packing more clothes would have been a good place to start; double-checking that I had packed everything I needed would have been a smart move.

I don't want to let this week get me down; I don't want to feel like I've given up on my goal. But this week was a good reminder that life gets in the way of running sometimes. We can set goals and then find ourselves needing to adjust them, whether because of injuries, poor planning, scheduling conflicts, inclement weather, whatever! But just because a goal needs to be put on hold, or a deadline needs to be extended, does not mean giving up is an option. This is something I've learned from running: you can't control it all, and you have to make sure to be flexible and learn from setbacks. And when the setbacks have been cleared up, it's time to get back to your goal and give it your all.

Missing a goal isn't the end of the world. I refuse to let disappointment in the execution of my plan get me down. I'm going to push to meet this goal, set a new one, and use what I learned this month to inform my actions and choices next month. (What do you know - it's like I'm using teacher-logic on myself!)

Summer is coming to an end; let's see if I can't close out my last 10 days on a high note.


PS: The trip was great, despite the disappointing running stuff.

Key West, Southermost Point

Sunset from Top Deck, The Bahamas

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