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Monday, August 23, 2010

When You Cannot Run... Walk: 10 Principles for Getting On Track

There is no case of my sore feet that Sarah ca...Image by colorblindPICASO via Flickr
I love running, this new sport that I started a little over a year a go. And now that I'm doing Weight Watchers, the weight is coming off.

But the Monday of preplanning I sat in a really old decrepit chair and although I've been running 12 - 15 miles a week all summer, it was the doggone chair that wrenched my knee! So, I've been trying to run and sometimes walking being very careful to let my knee heal.

The pivotal choice
Today, I set my Nike+ on my ipod for a 5K. I like to run at least 1 5K a week, but it just wasn't happening. I stretched, walked, and ran for about 10 steps and said to myself:

"I can either run on this knee today and perhaps damage it for the rest of my life, or continue to let this thing rest and have some hope of healing."

So, I didn't give up but instead walked the 5K. It was hugely frustrating because I'm used to running. The track went by slowly but I did get to see some of the most amazing cloud formations I've seen in a long time. I still sweated and although it took twice as long, I did burn quite a few calories and felt better. I told Kip that if he'd stick it out, I wanted to meet my goal, no matter how long it took.

If I had my choice, I'd rather be running, but sometimes there is no choice - it is walk or nothing.

Or Nothing
You see, this is life. Many of us get used to a fast pace. But sometimes, age or circumstances get to us and the very best we can do is slower than we've done in the past.  It may be that we need to heal from emotional scars or just that we cannot go as fast as we used to. 

On Track Principle #1: Keep Going.
To look in the face of slowing down is OK. It is not, however, OK to quit. Not when we still have race left in us. When we still have things to contribute and do, we cannot just do nothing.

Run the Race. Walk the Race. Stay on the Track.
Sometimes we have to stay the course. We are in a tough school where we feel called to be but the principal is always critical. Or we've got big budget cuts and the largest class we've ever taught and a new curriculum to teach.  Or, we just didn't get enough rest over the summer because of family issues we had to attend to --- or whatever.

We all have excuses. I have them too.

Do we know our goal? Are we willing to stay on track and stay the course? Will we remain faithful amidst the excuses.

Perhaps those of you who are used to my technology-rich posts may have tired of the reflective, "keep going" nature of my free writing, but that is just where I am.

It is 1:18 am in the morning and I'm about to go to bed. I've tried to pay bills with more month than money and tried to catch up on email. We're working on kicking off Flat Classroom projects and making sure we've got all of the applications in and have another six chapters to finish up by November 1st as well as several keynotes coming up in October and December.

I am probably going to be grading at 5 am but this week was a 60 hour week for me in terms of school and I just don't have anything else left.

Accepting Responsibility
However, I have to realize this. When I hopelessly whine, complain, and mope without working on a plan, I am behaving like a victim. In reality, my life as it is this moment is a result of my habits, actions, decisions, and behaviors up until this point.

On Track Principle #2: Accept Responsibility
If I want to improve things then I must begin by accepting responsibility for who I am and where I am. I must set my goals and see that I am on track. Then, I must begin. I must run or walk or crawl or skate or whatever will take me in the direction of the goals for my life.

Be Solution Oriented
I blogged this weekend about the Pareto Principle, and it is amazing how sometimes tackling a problem can lead to the easiest solutions. For example, the dishes! We cannot keep up with them, however, when I realized that the biggest problem is that we don't know when the items in the dishwasher are clean or dirty, I took a magnet and stuck a paper on the front. One side says Clean (Unload me) and the other says Dirty (Load me) and I flip it depending on what is in there. Then, I can in a glance see where I am. Such a little thing made all the difference in the world!

On Track Principle #3: Seek Solutions
I digressed to make this point: someone in this world has experienced the same problem(s) you are experiencing. You can back up and take a look at the situation and learn from those who have made it through before you. Sometimes it isn't in a book but in the mind of a respected mentor. But it is there somewhere.

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