Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just doing it

It's so funny how you can hear something over and over, and never really get it for years and years and then one day, a whole new meaning snaps into sharp focus, like a camera lens adjusting from background to foreground.

Of course, like most iconic ads, the Nike slogan had taken up residence in one of my brain files, and like most people, I always associated it with sports and training. But recently, all the running's made me see it in a whole new light.

Instead of looking at like a command to start something, make a vow, take the plunge, jump right in, etc. I'm now seeing it in in the meditative, repetative sense. Like, "you've gone all in already, now finish what you started."

You see, for me, the "just do it" part has always been the hardest. Starting, or coming up with the big idea, is easiest, and trying it out for the next 24 hours, second easiest, but the period between that and the finish point, the mastering part, not so easy.

I usually either get bored, and procrastinate until it gets done in a long, drawn-out painful way, or give up.

So, it's been kind of miraculous that I've managed to not bail out on the day-in, day-out training, and have instead, sucked it up, and continue to "just do it."

Like, last night, we were running the last part of a six-week series on hills. The first week we had started out at the easiest, most modest inclines in Central Park, near the west side of the resevoir, moved on to Cleo's Needle, and the East side hills, then, went to the Hill on the east side near Harlem, and finally last night was the long, drawn-out, steep Harlem Hill.

The plan was to start running up at full effort, then half way up, switch to practicing good form. The goal was to completely tire out by the time you reached the top, then regain your energy levels with a slow jog down. Then, repeat. Well, I thought they'd have us do it three, maybe four times, then jog back to 90th and Madison. But after five times, with my head coach Ramon giggling as I huffed and puffed by, I started to think, hey, he doesn't look like he has any intention of ending this pain anytime soon. (Little did I know we'd continue on for 10 full mile-long jogs up and down!!!)

But instead of panicking like I would have before, spiraling into thoughts of my legs or lungs giving out after one more, they-must-be-effing-kidding-me uphill run, my brain switched into foreign territory. Just as I usually do now when entering a difficult, but familiar challenge, like editing a service article, or stepping foot on foreign soil and needing to navigate the transportation system, my brain registered an obstacle, but bypassed stress mode, and clicked into simple solution mode. "Just do it," was the cue that came up. Not in an angry tone. More like a shrug-your-shoulders, resigned voice. Like, "You've got this. Now, just do it. Whatever."

"Okay, I thought, "I will." No stress. No sweat. Just put one leg in front of the other and keep breathing. Simple solution.

After 10 or so weeks, I've moved out of the freshman, wet-behind-the-ears phase, and am now in execution mode--auto-pilot--where the real work occurs, just doing it until it gets done.

And it's fun.

1 comment:

  1. This post is full of win! Wish I could think of a new compliment, or an original comment. Alas, it is late, and I had pizza tonight, so all the blood is around my stomach, not anywhere near my brain. All I can say is that this makes clear that what you've accomplished already is pretty terrific. As Tom Cruise would say: "Much love."