Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spontaneity


I've always been impulsive, a fly-by-the-seat of my pants kind of gal. They say opposites attract, and I think that really must be why my husband and I are married. He's the guy who needs to plan things in advance, and needs to really consider every aspect before making a decision. Change is really hard for him. His biggest challenge is keeping my feet on the ground. When I went back to school to become a nurse practitioner, he was not happy. "You're going to ruin the family", was his response. He knew I'd been toying with that move, but it still was a spontaneous one. Luckily, that decision worked out well for all of us. Considering that I've supported the family the last 2 winters while my husband has been out of work, I don't believe that I "ruined" the family. We may be having issues with my oldest son, but I can't blame it on becoming a nurse practitioner.

Most of the time, my spontaneous decisions have worked out well. I've been told that I have good instincts, and I believe that I do. You know my motto: Trust your gut.


Last year, I decided to jump into the Chicago marathon after winning a free entry from my employer. This was 14 weeks before the date of the marathon. Most marathon training plans are at least 16 weeks long. My husband, of course, told me I didn't have to run it. But I told him that I thought it was meant to be, and that it was time for me to redeem myself from my disastrous first attempt. Becky, my coach, was on board. I had a good training base already. My training went perfectly, and the race itself could not have gone better.

One of the best days of my life!
While I wouldn't recommend jumping into a marathon without planning ahead, it isn't unheard of. Beth, at Shut Up and Run, won a free entry to the Jerusalem marathon last month with only 6 weeks to prepare. As a veteran of several marathons and 2 Ironmans, she knew what to expect of the distance, and finished respectably. But she did have all that experience and a great running base.

Last winter, I read about a free entry to the Antarctica Marathon. Heck yeah, I entered! The contest was 6 weeks before the race. I'd been running in our own polar vortex, so I figured if I won, I'd throw a few long runs into the mix. Chicago winter? Antarctica? Besides no penguins, really, is there a difference? Believe it or not, my husband was on board with this one. Of course, he'd be all toasty and warm on the ship while I was out running in the tundra. But in a heartbeat, I'd have gone. Sadly, I didn't win. But as a completely random, unrelated consolation prize, there was this picture of me featured on Another Mother Runner. I love those ladies, and this was almost as good as going to Antarctica. Because Dimity is going to answer questions for next month's book club. It's funny how things work out. Plus this picture really shows that I could run in Antarctica if I wanted to. So there's that.

Antarctica got nothin' on me...and I'm almost famous...
I've run a few half marathons, signing up at the last minute. A year and half ago, I signed up to run a Thanksgiving half marathon the week of the event. My son needed some community service hours, and he was able to fulfill that obligation by volunteering at the race. I figured since he'd be there, I'd run it too. As it turns out, this was the fastest half I'd run in several years. My previous half was 2 months before, but I had continued to run my usual mileage and was in good shape prior to the race. My friends Karen, Michelle, and Sara were running too. It was all good. Well, except I never saw my son on the race course. I know he was there, but I ran right by him. So he says.

My beautiful friend Karen and me
For a nervous nelly like myself, the good thing about being spontaneous is that I don't agonize over a decision. When I signed up to run Chicago the first time, that was in January, and I had all that time get myself worked up into a lather. With last year's marathon, I didn't have a chance to get nervous. I jumped right into training, did the work, and was excited about my gains.

It's a little different this year. As running continues to become more popular, races are selling out faster than ever. I haven't planned the rest of my race calendar because I'm waiting to see if I got an entry to the Chicago marathon. I'm not really optimistic, since 70,000 people entered the lottery this year. Seriously! Hello, I'm a native Chicagoan. Doesn't that mean anything?

There are other options on my backup list, but I have my heart set on another Chicago marathon. Will the other options sell out while I wait for my lottery decision? I could always run Chicago as a charity runner. I could. I did that the first time. But I really hate the idea of hitting up my friends and family again. So if I don't get in, that might be a sign that I need to pick a different race. I'll let my gut tell me what to do.

So for this runner, it becomes more difficult to be spontaneous. The half I'm running in May? Sold out in March. I already signed up to run Sarasota next year, but that's because the race director let me defer. Sarasota is another race that sells out. I've never planned this far ahead, but hey, it's Florida. I want to do another half this summer, but as I wait to see what marathon falls onto my race calendar, will my options for half marathons narrow? Can I still be spontaneous? If I stick to smaller local races, yes. Seems like it's still my best bet for success. Stay tuned.

Are you a planner? Or a fly by the seat kind of gal/guy? What would you do if you were me, and didn't get in to Chicago? Charity? Or find a new race? Oh, the agony...

I'm linking up with DebRuns at Wednesday Words! Spontaneous is the word of the day. What say you?



















And my ladies Diatta and Sheila at Workout Wednesday! Be sure to head over and see what the other bloggers have to say!





70 comments :

  1. As far as running goes, I'm less spontaneous than I used to be. My body needs more planning these days :-)

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    1. I keep a certain baseline, so I can jump into races up to a half if I want. Of course, advance planning and training is best!

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  2. I am a planner but I happen to end up being pretty spontaneous because NOTHING ever goes as planned for me lol!

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  3. ok for some reason I pegged you as a planner! I am such a planner and so not spontaneous. I couldn't even think of what to write for this post. I hope to join in some time (if I plan for it of course :)

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    1. This one took a little thought. Trying to tie spontaneity and running was a little challenging to me. Actually, as I was driving home from work yesterday, it came to me. And then I was like--Doh! But yes, I am a planner by necessity. I wish I could let my inner spontaneous fly more often!

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  4. In almost every aspect of my life I like to fly by the seat of my pants. I don't know about jumping into a marathon like that, but for most other things! BTW that is AWESOME and I love that picture of you!

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  5. Great post! I am a planner for sure, especially when it comes to races. I might run a 5k without planning but that's about it.

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    1. I'm a planner by necessity, but it's fun to throw caution to the wind. And yes, it's a lot easier to jump into shorter races at the last minute!

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  6. I am kind of an OCD planner! It makes me happy :-) My hubby is the same way so we feed off of each other. My best friend is like you though and always does well.

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    1. My husband just shakes his head. I always say that everything has a way of working itself out...

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  7. I used to be a fly-by person, but now I'm turning into a planner. Not a great one, but a planner nonetheless. At times I wish I was more spontaneous like I was, but then I see how it ruins my schedule and absolutely panic. LOL!

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    1. Hey, life happens, right? I'm certainly a lot less spontaneous than I used to be.

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  8. I am a planner for sure, but being spontaneous sure makes life fun :)

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    1. Sometimes you just have to say f--k it and go with the flow!

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  9. Oh, my gosh...I've very envious of your "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" abilities, Wendy! I have always struggled with this; I am SUCH a huge planner! It sometimes cuts out spontaneous activities because I just can't handle the suddenness of it all; I know...I'm weird. I'm going to put my name into the lottery for Chicago next year and, if I don't get in, I'll have a couple of other races in mind that I can do instead; there's always another year to try, I suppose! I think you'll get in...

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    1. I hope so! Otherwise, I've got some back up plans....

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  10. I'm both. I like part of my life to be structured. But, the other part...I like to just see what the wind blows in. That's part of the fun and reward. Were we separated at birth? I'm waiting on my Chicago fate too. I will not run for charity if I don't get in. I've got several others I'm looking at. If I lived there and it meant a lot to me, I would do it!

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    1. I hope we both get in! Wouldn't it be great to finally meet?

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  11. How incredibly cool would it have been if you had won a spot in the Antarctica Marathon? Back when I was running several marathons a year, and pretty much always in marathon shape, I signed up for a few at the last minute. So perhaps, I do have a little spontaneity in me!

    Thanks for linking up!

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  12. Unfortunately I am very spontaneous. I sign up and then plan later. In fact I signed up for a half next Feb in Sarasota and one in October in Brooklyn. Why i don't know???

    I would run for charity not because of the charity but becauseI don't enjoy nagging people for money. I would find another race. There are so many good ones out there.

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  13. I'm a planner for pretty much everything. So is my husband. It's kind of scary around here sometimes. We have all of my races and our vacations for the year planned and many of the hotels booked. I'm a little slower with the plane tickets and race fees (for those I know won't sell out) because my credit card would cry if I bought them all at once, but otherwise I'd totally be done with everything LOL.

    As far as the race, I felt that way about MCM - I was going to get in one way or another. I hate doing charity entries. I'd rather give than ask, but I would have done it for MCM. No advice on Chicago. I guess it depends on if you are willing to let the chips fall where they may. (But I'd definitely be stalking a back up race or a charity if it were me LOL).

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    1. I for sure have a back up plan; I could also join the charity team at work. I just hate asking people for money.

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  14. Ha, ha--we are polar opposites in this regard! I am such a ridiculous planner. Can you teach me some spontaneity?

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    1. I think you're better off being a planner, really...

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  15. I've taken more DNS's than I care to remember, because I signed up for races way in advance (to take advantage of cheaper entry fees) and then injuries and life got in the way of running them. If I had waited to sign up closer to the races, and realized I wouldn't be able to run, I could have saved the money. Anyway, with the popularity of distance races nowadays, you almost have to pay 6+ months in advance for a race you might not even be able to run, just to reserve a spot. Well, at least I got some race shirts that I was able to sell on eBay...

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    1. The struggle is real!!! The popularity of running is messing with my mojo.

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  16. As long as you have a running base, I think being spontaneous like you are is great. Don't get me started about the number of coaching clients I have who want to sign up for a second and a third marathon before they've even trained for their first half. That drives me nuts.
    I'm kind of sad how many races have gone to lotteries.

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    1. Yikes! I hope you have a gentle way of bringing them back to reality.

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  17. i'm a planner and super type a. being married to my spontaneous husband is making me just a wee bit more flexible :)

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  18. I have my race calendar planned out to January 2016 (Dopey here I come!) but I'm always up for adding in some spontaneous races here and there. If I were offered Chicago or Antarctica, I'd be there in a heartbeat. Sometimes I think the spontaneous ones are the ones that stick with us.

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    1. And that is the truth. No expectations, great outcomes!

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  19. I'm definitely a planner. I planned my race calendar before the year even started but that being said, I'm always up for spontaneity when the chance arises too. Good luck with Chicago, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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  20. I am a total planner. Type A. OCD. write it down and color code... planner. :)

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  21. I'm definitely a planner. I'm trying to be more spontaneous with my races to enjoy them more but so far, it hasn't happened. Lol...one day!

    I'm hoping Chicago works out for you! It's one of my bucket list races!

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    1. It would be my third time, and I can recommend it! It's a great race!

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  22. yes, you live in Chicago so that should surely work out for you! I am kind of a planner, at least for big things, I like to have something on my schedule to look forward to. I get all funky if I don't have something on the books!!

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    1. I do get a little discombobulated if I don't have a race planned...I have to admit that.

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  23. Love this post! It's amazing to hear about all the great experiences to be had when you do let your guard down and jump in head first without looking back. Have you ever seen the movie "Last Holiday" with Queen Latifah? The premise of the story is that Queen Latifah's character thinks she has a terminal illness and just a few weeks left to live. So she goes out and lives her life with NO FEAR, doing things completely spontaneously - with amazing results! It is very inspirational. =)

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  24. You have the spontaneous thing down - I need to take lessons because I probably miss out on some really awesome experiences with my lack of spontaneity!!!

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    1. I doubt it! But it's kind of fun just to roll with it...

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  25. I'm a huge planner. My husband constantly reminds me of the need to go with the flow, but I find it very difficult to let things just happen. I'm trying to be better about it, but it definitely isn't easy!

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    1. We were talking about that at work...I think part of the reason I'm like this is that throughout the day my job is so unpredictable--I just have to roll with it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not laid back but there's just so little that you can control.

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  26. I'm a planner, in all areas of my life. No plan equals too much anxiety and stress for me.

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    1. Being an anxious person myself, you'd think I'd be more of a planner!

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  27. I'm sooo not a planner. I don't do things impulsively either though. I think about my decisions before I make them but I hate spending lots of time and energy on planning out every little detail. It's a fine line haha

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  28. I love the arm pic with the lashes and the snow!! If you don't get into Chicago, I'd take it as a sign to explore your other marathon options.....so many cities and races....so many possibilities:)

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    1. I think you are right! I had such an amazing experience at Chicago last year--I don't think I could top that. We'll see what fate throws my way.

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  30. Great read! I'm a planner for sure. I booked this year's summer holidays over 18 months ago (kinda embarrassing).
    I also entered the Chicago lottery - I'm rubbish at waiting - I want to know NOW if we got in. Fingers crossed for you.
    Your photo made me laugh lots. Was it not hard to breath with your mouth covered?
    I bought your book recommendation yesterday (Tales from Another Mother Runner). Looking forward to it.
    Funny we both have Julia on our posts! Enjoy your day.

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    1. Ooooh! I hope we both get in!

      Great minds think alike, I'm pretty sure...

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  31. I"m a planner at heart but I'm becoming more comfortable without having everything planned. A nice balance :)

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  32. For me it's always a little hard to commit to things so far out. I always get a little nervous buying plane tickets. etc...when we signed up for the Disney race in Aug. it wasn't until Feb. the half was sold out in four hours lol
    The one good thing about signing up early is there is usually a discounted price :)
    I hope that lottery pulls your name!

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    1. The discount is worth the planning! I have a 10 miler on Sat, which I signed up for months ago. Got a 50% discount. So there is that.

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  33. I like your "it's meant to be" perspective! That's how I feel when I enter races with lotteries. :)

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    1. There are just so many things that happen randomly but always seems to work out. Hmmm.

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  34. I need to be more spontaneous when it comes to trying different workouts. I always wanted to try skiing so I should do that next year. Thanks for linkup up. #wowlinkup

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    1. I skied in my teens and 20s...now I'm afraid of getting hurt. I still water ski tho!

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  35. Being spontaneous is definitely AGAINST my nature, lol...but I definitely see how taking a risk can pay off big time! I wish I could be more spontaneous sometimes, so it's nice that my boyfriend balances me out!

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    1. Sometimes, actually most of the time, I have to be a planner, so it's fun to be spontaneous when I can.

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  36. Great read. I wish I was more of a free spirit full of spontaneity... but alas, I am too type A. I like my plan ;)

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