Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Commitment


Have you ever DNS'd a race? Not for an injury, but just woke up one morning, and said, F---it, I'm not running?

A few years ago, I worked with a physician who was also a runner. He offered to run a 10 mile race with me. Since we worked alternating Saturdays, he pulled strings to get us both the day off, so we could run this race together. I picked up our race packets. On race day morning, it was 40 degrees and pouring rain. But knowing that I was going to meet him at the race, I didn't give it a second thought. I drove into the city and waited for him. Twenty minutes before the start, there was still no sign of him. I called him, and it was clear to me that I woke him up. He told me that he decided not to come. I hung up on him.

Who does that, not show up to a race when you've committed to someone? 

Oh, yeah, that guy.

What if that someone is yourself?

I used to be that person. Before I started running, I was that person who would call in sick at the drop of a hat. I would make plans with people and cancel at the last minute. Commitments? I wasn't good at them. Don't count on me. I used to DNS on life.

Running changed all that. I started making sure I got my runs in, and interestingly, committing to myself to run made me more reliable in other areas of my life. I went from someone that you couldn't count on to someone who was there when I said I would be.

It didn't happen overnight, but I started to notice that if I didn't get up to run, I had a bad day. I would get mad at myself for missing a run. I didn't like that feeling. And eventually, I really didn't like the feeling of letting people down. No matter what it was--work, dinner, you name it.

I especially didn't like the feeling of letting myself down. 


I can see how easy it would be to fall into the pattern of blowing off your runs. 

So many excuses:
It's cold, it's hot. 
It's raining, it's snowing. 
The baby cried all night. 
Your spouse snored all night.
Your legs are tired. 
You're tired.
Your tummy is funky. 
Your feet hurt. 
You have to work early in the morning. 
You worked late last night. 
You had too much to drink. 
You had too much to eat.
You just don't feel like going.

And in case you were wondering, yep, I've had all these reasons not to run.


But I get up and go. It's not always easy. In fact, most often it's a tough sell. I push myself out the door. I push myself through a dark run, tough run, a tough workout. I've run before the sun. In the bitter cold of winter, in the blazing heat of summer. I've outrun skunks and coyotes. I've dodged lightning bolts, and I've run in a blizzard. It's not always picture perfect and it's not always fun. I've tripped over cracks in the sidewalk. Dodged into the trees to take care of nature's call. But I don't quit. I finish what I've started. 

Because I've made a commitment.

To myself. 

I don't ever want to be that person again. 

I don't want to be that person that you can't count on. 

I don't want to be a quitter.

If I can't count on myself, who can?



Have noticed the positive effects of running in other areas of your life? 

I'm linking up with DebRuns who hosts this awesome Wednesday Word linkup! This week's word is Commitment. Make sure you check out what everyone else says about commitment!




72 comments :

  1. Your running is my walking but otherwise it is all the same.

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  2. I've rarely bailed on a run. I find in the winter, in the bad weather, it strengthens my resolve to get out the door.

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  3. It never ceases to amaze me how running can effect so many other areas of your life!

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  4. I've had some other things that I've shirked on, but running for whatever reason isn't one of them. Other workouts? Yep. But I know how much of a mood changer running is for me. Sometimes I do procrastinate with it, though!

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    1. Most of the time running is a huge mood changer for me! Sometimes when I'm training for something, it's more like a chore...but I never shirk on my commitment to get it done.

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  5. Wendy I would have never thought you were this way ever. I'm so glad you shared this an I needed to hear it! I do not want to let myself down in my marathon training, I don't want to be a DNS!

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    1. I can't believe I was like that either! Running really turned my life around for me. I don't think you'll let yourself down, at all.

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  6. It may take me a while to decide to do something, but once I do...I'm all in no matter what. Running and training is such a commitment that I think most people don't understand.

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    1. It's a shame that most people don't get it. It would be so much easier to quit sometimes, but I always remind myself of how that would make me feel.

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  7. Wow who does that? Can't believe he didn't tell you he wasn't coming. I've never not shown up at the last minute but a few times I have registered and knew weeks before I couldn't make it. Commitment is really important to me too.

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    1. Knowing how badly that made me feel, I would never do it to another person!

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  8. What a great post although it made me a little mad at your physician friend for not showing up! Most of my races are destination races and therefore I am already there and I BETTER show up..lol. I did have one DNS though and it was last year at BIG SUR. I was extremely injured. I thought perhaps I could just walk it but when I found out how strict the time limit was, I didn't want to take that chance. It all worked out in the end and I don't regret my decision!

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    1. Injury is a whole other thing...that is a totally legit excuse. And it's not like it would be a last minute issue. I bet it killed you to not run Big Sur. I'm anxiously awaiting the results of the lottery as we speak!

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  9. Wow, what an ASSHOLE!! He didn't even call you! That just floors me. The thing is, there are a lot of people like that- people who cancel at the last minute or who are perpetually late. They don't respect your time and it's basically saying "I'm more important than you." Lateness is a pet peeve of mine. And if someone did to me what that other doctor did to you... I wouldn't even know how to respond, I would just be too shocked!

    I am a commitmentphobe. The reason I tend to be that way is because if I do make plans with someone, I do NOT want to cancel them unless there is an emergency. So I try to make it so that if I truly commit to something, I will be there. I am not perfect, but I have gotten better at saying "maybe" or "I'll let you know closer to the time" just so I don't have to back out of anything.

    I never DNS'ed a race just because I didn't "feel like" running. I sometimes bail out of an early morning group run because I want to sleep in, but then I just go out and do it on my own... so that is sometimes boring but at least I got to sleep in. :)

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    1. Haha, that's pretty much what I said to him when I saw him at work the following Monday...

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  10. Love this post! I have experienced every last one of those reasons to not run... and then some. I've also realized that my training is a promise to myself. If I slack on the training and then don't perform well at my goal race, then I can only blame myself. Accountability is where it's all at!

    I can't believe that your doctor DNS'd on you!!! Some physician he is! Reminds me of the doctors who tell patients that they shouldn't smoke while they themselves light up a cigarette, right?

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    1. Yep do as I say, not as I do! It wouldn't have been so bad if the weather conditions were tolerable, but it was just about the worst day for a race!

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  11. I have only DNSed when I've been injured.There have been several times when the weather made me want to but I didn't.

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    1. That's right, real runners don't wimp out because of the weather...LOL

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  12. I DNS'd on life, just up until a few years ago. I can't say running is what changed my perspective...No...it was ME that changed it. Running is just an added bonus that makes me smile more times than not. I never want to be 'that person' ever ever ever again, either. <3

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  13. The only time I've ever DNS'd a race was when I was injured and the doctor told me it was best to not run it. It was a hard decision but one that I had such peace about. Otherwise, I always run! And I would never say I was going to do a race or run with someone and then just bail on them! How rude!

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    1. I have DNS'd once for injury. Deferred once because of family issues. But never just because I didn't feel like it..

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  14. I NEVER flake out if I have made a promise to someone else. Occasionally I will blow off a workout or a run if I am the only one involved but there is ALWAYS a good reason.

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  15. Nope, I never bail on a race - not even a run if I'm meeting someone - not if it's snowing, not if it's hot. I think I've mentioned a few times how stubborn I am?

    I find it fascinating, tho, that you used to do all that. I would have NEVER guessed. And also fascinating that running changed you so much.

    Not that it should really surprise me. It's definitely changed me, too.

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  16. I can't believe that guy ditched you! He didn't even call to tell you he was ditching you?! WTF. I'm pretty good about committing to runs, big events or one-on-one plans with someone. However, I admit that I'm not good about group plans. If someone is having a big get together and I don't feel like going, but I know a whole bunch of other people are going to be there, sometimes I think it's ok to skip - that I won't be missed since so many other people will be there. I need to get better about that.

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    1. I think it's more ok with the big group events more than meeting someone one on one and not showing up. With a big a group, I don't think I'm missed if I don't show.

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  17. I take commitments seriously.. running commitments are no different.
    It's why if I have to miss a race, I literally cry the whole day.

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    1. I don't cry, but I sure feel badly if I miss a race.

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  18. I have to admit I have not found that same level of commitment to my running. But I like your attitude and it's a great way to look at it. Perhaps that will help me stay more committed.

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  19. Running has made me enjoy my working out more and I feel so much better from the endorphin release, and so far I have never missed a race :) Running is an easy commitment.

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    1. I agree...most of the time it is an easy commitment. The winter makes it a little tougher.

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  20. AMEN!! SO true! I would have hung up on him too Wendy!! I would say failure to follow through is one of my biggest pet peeves. :)

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  21. I love this post! There should be no excuses and I feel that way when I am passionate about what I am training for. When you make a commitment to yourself or someone else you should always follow through!

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  22. I always feel guilty at the thought of bailing on a run. I'm always disappointed in myself when I have such thoughts.

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    1. I think it's ok to have the thoughts but just not to act on them.

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  23. I love this. Running changes the lives of many people (though apparently not that doctor). It is all about overcoming the odds, our own weaknesses, and it obviously extends into our real lives. In fact, I've been telling cross country parents and kids that for 12 years.

    With that said, as with anything that requires effort and puts strain on our bodies, there are times that we do need to listen to those bodies and take that day off. Maybe I'm just excusing myself because my back hurt so badly today I could hardly walk, let alone run, so yes, I skipped my run. I prefer to think of that as smart rather than not committed enough though.

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    1. Oooh, I hope your back is ok! How did you hurt it?

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  24. Running does the same exact thing for me. I always used to make up excuses to not exercise or get it done, but my MRTT group made me accountable and it really has stuck with me. If you can't commit to yourself how can you commit to others?

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  25. Wow! I love this post... I would never just not show up if someone is waiting for me... It's interesting because I have always been the person that you can count on, well before I started running. I've always kept my commitments to other people, but not always kept my commitments to myself. Now I'm working on keeping my commitments to myself...because what makes me less important than everyone else....

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    1. I think it's important to honor your commitments to yourself!

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  26. I have a friend who bails on our running plans all the time - I guess she hasn't learned that commitment yet!

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    1. That's when you stop making dates to run with her...

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  27. I never would have guessed you were that person before. The effects of running definitely seep into other aspects of life.

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    1. I can't quite believe I was that person either. Running really turned it around for me.

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  28. I feel like it's so easy to get in the habit of bailing. Do it once and it become easy to do it over and over again.
    The only time I've DNS'd a race is when I've been injured. I've definitely woken up and not wanted to, but I've always been glad I did it in the end.

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    1. I agree, it's easy to get it that cycle of quitting. For me, it's as hard to quit on myself as it is to quit on another person. Heck, I feel guilty even calling in sick to work!

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  29. For me working out in general is the only time during the day that is totally all about me. I don't always look forward to it but once I'm there I never regret going. The few days when I have decided to stay in bed, I've beat myself up about it all day and then end up making time in the evening to get my sweat on. Good reminders and great inspirational photos ;)

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    1. I feel the same way. I overslept this morning, and now I'm trying to push myself to go!

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  30. Wait for the weather, you wait for ever. Being in the Midwest (Wisconsin) you get to run in everything from -20 to 100 degree heat and humidity. I think it teaches you how to cope and listen to your body.

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    1. And the crazy weather forces us to stay committed!

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  31. I've learned there are those I can count on every time, and those who I know will almost always bail. I plan workouts with those I can count on to be there. Like you said, it's all about making the commitment. I do, however, listen to my body and if I need more sleep or a day off, I take it. I've learned that not listening can lead to injury, and that's never fun!

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    1. That's a different story! We all need those days.

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  32. Oh yes, running has definitely made me more accountable and has taught me a lot about commitment. I cannot believe your coworker did not show up for that race when y'all planned to meet (and didn't even call to let you know)! I have definitely had a race or two where I woke up that morning and was like nope, but I've never done that when I was going to be meeting someone. I like the saying if you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done. So true in running and in life.

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    1. I think running has all kinds of benefits, not just health-wise!

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  33. Awesome post Wendy. I really enjoy reading about a runner's dedication commitment to the sport. I had people who didn't show up to runs or races but that's okay. You move on. I was happy I showed up.
    Have a great weekend!

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    1. I'm always happy that I showed up for a race...maybe not during the race, but after I'm done, for sure!

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  34. omg I love this post and need to bookmark it to read when I don't want to run - or print it and post on my bulletin board over my desk. So many days I just don't feel like running but get out there and push myself. Though, there are days I don't feel like running and just don't. Today is one of those days I DONT want to run. I ran 13 miles last night and my legs are so fatigued and sore. But will still try to get out there today. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. It's hard to run the day after a long run! Take it easy on yourself!

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  35. You're spot on that running makes us more committed in most other aspects of our lives. Ugh - I can't stand it when I show up to meet someone for a run and they're not there, and didn't text me before hand to let me know... I would have been so ticked at that doctor. I hope you had a great race anyway.

    As always, thanks for linking up!

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    1. Nothing like running angry, right? LOL. It was a great race.

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  36. I laughed when you said you hung up on him. :-)

    Sigh, I am guilty of this. I sometimes make plans and then cancel/bail on them for whatever reason. And yes, that sometimes applies to my runs too.

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    1. If the weather hadn't been so bad, maybe I wouldn't have gotten so mad.. :p

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