Training vs Doing … and the persuasive power of friends

I do not consider myself an athlete.  I don’t get into training … for anything, really but certainly not athletic training.  That’s not to say I don’t work out, because I do…regularly… like six days a week.  Recently, however my oldest friend – and probably the only human on Earth who could do so – (Hello, Ellen) has talked me into walking a half marathon with her in a month.  What was I thinking?

Now I know what everyone is going to say… “you’re walking!  What’s the big deal?”  Well, you see, they do not leave the course open forever.  The majority of people will be running and you do NOT want to be the last one on the course with the “sag wagon” riding up your rear-end.  Also, walking continuously for 13.1 miles is not something that should be entered into lightly.  Your feet, legs and back just aren’t used to it.  So train I must.

Hubby was thrilled.  Having run several full marathons and close to 30 half marathons, he went into full-on coach mode.  Which is good because, as I said … I don’t train, I just do.

After finishing a short run with said hubby, we discussed the differences between those that enjoy training (him) and those that don’t (me).  When I’m just working out because I enjoy exercising (or more honestly because I enjoy the results that exercising brings), each finished work out is a completed task in and of itself.  It’s a job done.  A checked off item on my to-do list.  Done, finished!  I don’t have to think about it again.  Now, with my training, it is just a piece in a puzzle… a building block.  Job not complete.  Task not finished.  Closer, yes.  But still unchecked.  I hate unchecked boxes.

So I think the trick is going to be changing my mindset (ouch!  hate that!)  Hubby mentioned continuing to think about each long walk or run as an individual workout on a weekly workout checklist.  Well, that’s better… but I’ve still got that big, whopping, un-checked half marathon box looming over my head.  So…. train I must.

The Care and Feeding of Friends

As the song goes: “Ya gotta have friends”, right?  I mean, life would be pretty boring without them and relying on family as your sole support group can be very ill-advised at times.  But like every living, breathing thing, friends require care.  They cannot be ignored and expected to flourish. Therein lies the purpose of this post and my dilemma.  It’s something I’ve been kicking around for a few days.

First off, in the interest of full disclosure – I am not the nurturing type.  I was absent the day they handed out maternal instincts.  I have one meager houseplant.  There are days that I find my cat’s neediness a bit overwhelming.  I’ve also pointed out to my hubby on numerous occasions that he did not marry a Florence Nightingale.  I am not a giver.  To be fair, I don’t really expect much in return either, I don’t think.  Basically, I’m an introvert. I enjoy solitude and I find I gather my energy and strength to go do all my social and/or professional stuff by spending quiet time alone.  That does not mean I’m a hermit (although, there are weekends I put in a great deal of training and aspire toward that end).  It just means I need “down time” to refuel.   Having said that, I do try to put the necessary time into nurturing my close friendships.  I like to be there for them. I enjoy getting together and spending time with them. I want to know what’s going on in their lives and also to let them know what’s happening in mine.

These days, the term “friend” is definitely thrown around.  I find it necessary to differentiate between my true, close friends, my for-lack-of-a-better-term “occasional” friends, and my Facebook friends (a mix of all the above and acquaintances, business associates, and family). While I like to keep track of what’s happening in all of their lives, I feel I just don’t have the time or energy to truly care for and nurture all of these relationships. But then what’s the point in having them? 

I do feel guilty when I realize too much time has gone by between chatting with a close friend, emailing an “occasional” friend or commenting on a Facebook friend’s wall.  It can just all be a bit overwhelming sometimes.  I certainly always enjoy getting a dinner invitation or a funny text from a close friend.  I try to be there with advice when asked or find time for a cup of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) to listen to a friend vent, and I am always delighted by the out-of-the-blue “like” or comment on my Facebook wall.  The thing is all of this takes time.

I guess it’s like combining juggling with playing the lotto.  You can’t win if you don’t play and you have to keep all your balls in the air at the same time.  It’s hard, and it takes a lot of organization and coordination, but if done right (with only a few balls dropped here and there with nothing broken) everybody goes home a winner. Just do it.  You’ll be glad you did.

With Friends Like These….

They say it’s not what you know, but who you know.  When was the last time you really thought about who your friends are?  I’m not talking big, philosophical picture here like what their character is like or if you can trust them.  No, I’m talking about what it is your friends actually do for a living — how they spend the majority of their lives when they are not hanging out with you, being your friend.

Recently I applied for a public relations project that sounded promising.  Along with the usual application and request for professional references, I was also asked to include a couple of personal references.  It got me thinking.  As I conducted a mental inventory of all of my close friends, (the ones that I know would attempt to shower my name with compliments and not bring up any embarrassing incidences they may have witnessed) I was amazed by the vast breadth of knowledge and work being done by my friends.  There are business owners, vice presidents and authors.  Some are in the medical field.  Some are IT gurus, business managers and even a few in the theater and music industry!  I’m just saying… If you need an ego boost and want to feel a bit better about yourself… don’t look in the mirror.  Look at your friends!  You’ve got to be pretty special if these people want to hang with you!

In a very good humor

Just like the support of a good friend (or in my case the two pounds of Paulina Meat Market bacon I have in the freezer)  you might not need it today,  but knowing it is there makes you happy.  The same can be said for this sight as I made my way through the neighborhood today.