Plenty of Time…if you use it right

30 09 2007

Have you ever read the book The Phantom Tollbooth? It’s about this kid named Milo who complains he has nothing to do … a box arrives in his parent’s apartment with a note attached “For Milo – who has plenty of time.” 

 I was feeling like I had boatloads of time at the beginning of this year and I finally figured out why.  I was bottoming out on my training.  I was doing some things here and there but depending on the Y for the most part.  I would multi-task … watch the news on the treadmill … read an article on the recumbent bike … Not really wonderful.

Finding time for training is a matter of time management. 

When I woke up to feeling stiff just about everywhere … it was time for a reality check.  I went with a friend of mine to pick up our Komen t-shirts and bibs.  It was good to reconnect (right now I’d like to reconnect with my wallet which is lost in my house … I hope).  The problem was I must have eaten something that really disagreed because I spent time after we split yakking in the bathroom!  I didn’t feel sick, but I wasn’t going out to do no 5 miles!  I had some things I had to do and when I got home it was nearly dark.  Time to take the day off … stretch … read philosophy and be nice to myself.

I’m not complaining … I’m learning.  When I was a kid, I would push myself to the end and fall off feeling really upset and worthless.  I still have that self destructive tendency and I realized that in order to do the things that I want to do for me, I’ve got to get a handle on time management.

Up to this point, I think the only time I really felt passionate about a sport nobody quite understood was when I was ice skating.  I started that when I was 13 and I was behind the 8 ball from day one.  I was too old for a beginner to be competitive.  I was working in the school cafeteria and babysitting like nuts to pay for my ‘habit’.  I was too tall and awkward for pairs and didn’t remember the patterns for ice dancing.  I was kinda screwed.  I put everything I had into my practices … but since I’d not dealt with the destructive side of me … I only got so far.  I did almost everything possible to keep myself at about 130 pounds … and with my frame, that’s pretty hard to do. By the time I got out of skating, I was pretty self destructive … and the word self is operative here.  Even at the time I knew I’d done it to myself. 

From the time I was 18 to now 42, I’d not really allowed myself to get passionate about … anything really.  I could get in to things, but not passionate.  Kind of a boring existence.  You fill your time with not important things and let people take you where they want.  Sure there were things I loved (music, environment, nature, the Ocean, wandering) but I felt on the outside because I wasn’t memorizing whatever was absolutely imperative for someone to know.

Just before birthday 42 (the meaning of life according to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), I started to catch the walking bug … and it’s been kind of infesting my consciousness ever since.  I’ve been afraid to let it take more of a center stage because I was afraid of my falling into the rut of that silly teenager who set herself up to fail.  I would train, but not hard enough.  I would read and read and read, but what good is that?  I kind of avoided learning the language of the sport …

Then I found myself yakking over the San Diego Freeway and some a*#h&*e says “You’re not going to finish, give it up …”  My “Screw You” gene took over and I finished … and I did pass the guy … took me the better part of 3 hours to catch up … but I didn’t pick up a damn foot and run … I walked …

Sitting on the grass with my dear friend Sheila, I slowly flopped into a hamstring stretch to take a call from my best bud Heather … who was something like 2 hours ahead of me.  I was in better shape than when I did the Disney, but not by much.

On the plane back, I made a list: find p/t work on campus, re-start yoga religiously, understand pilates, massages, chiropractic, spend more time with the dog and get out the damn door and walk on REAL SURFACES! 

I got back to the real world to a note from a friend of mine; a Tibetan Monk in a monastery in India.  He said “You must be very good at time management to do all the long walks and things you are doing.”  OOFAH!  That’s guilt!  He meant it as a compliment, but he stated the elephant in the living room … I suck at time management.

I was slowly getting my act together when the Dave McGovern Racewalking Clinic was.  I looked around at the maybe 10 participants, most greatly older than myself, knowing each and every one was going to blow my freaking doors!  Many did … but instead of feeling despair, I felt jazzed. Mike is a gentleman who admits he destroyed his lungs himself therefore he’s trying to do something right … he totes 3 oxygen tanks in a cart harnessed to his chest!  Elna is going to be in the Senior Olympics or the Masters or something and blow freaking doors … and she’s in her 70’s (I think).  The two guys from my running club were working hard on their form and were just fascinating.  Everyone was an amazing story and able to fit their training into their lives … my turn!

Now – Training takes a lot of precedence over a lot of other things.  I stretch while pulling files at my job on the University campus.  I do errands walking ‘rather rapidly’ and I keep a spare set of flats under the desk.  Nah – I don’t have to dress up at work, but it’s better to wear those than flip-flops or hiking boots.  I’m back at the chiropractor working out the kinks from an old car accident and keeping me in alignment and my pilates and yoga practices mean more to me.  I’m on a schedule and I hit it … however …

Yes — However.  When I was throwing up due to bad food … I decided against doing the training walk.  Give myself a little bit of time to recover.  I didn’t sit on the couch eating bon-bons.  I had other commitments that I could make and I took a lot of time to stretch out the sore muscles.  By about 6 I probably could have gone out without much trouble … but I’ll push it tomorrow. 

Like Milo at the end of the book … I don’t have plenty of time anymore … there are a lot of things I want to do … and for me.  A big one is my walking.  I didn’t realize truly how important it was to me until I pulled myself back.  I proved in San Diego that I can shove myself through, but I proved today that I don’t have to.




2 responses

1 10 2007
Cuz Petey

“The first and best victory is to conquer self; to be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile. ” Plato.

3 10 2007

Couldn’t of said it better myself!

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