Monday, August 15, 2005

Decision Making

I’ve quit a fair number of activities and pursuits in my day. A short list would include:

Swimming lessons. I quit swimming lessons when I was about 9 and again when I was 12. I quit the first time because I was unable to pass out of Polliwogs after a year of trying. I quit the second time because I could swim well and was terrified of the teacher – a tall Amazonian woman named Trudi who had an unplaceable Eastern European accent and a sadistic streak that included whacking us on the head with a long metal pole while we were swimming.

Cello lessons. I was in high school, just after freshman year when I quit playing the cello. I hated the kids in the orchestra and after a series of bad teachers, I’d fallen behind on my skills. I had a good teacher at the time, but I couldn’t just take lessons without being in orchestra, so I had to quit.

Many crappy service jobs. I couldn’t even list all of these. But the highlights include quitting a bus-boy job at an all-you-can-eat-buffet because in my first 3 days of work, I threw out enough food to feed China; quitting a job as a supermarket checkout girl after 3 weeks because I found myself imaging that it would be preferable to have a broken arm than to go to work; getting fired from Denny’s for bussing tables instead of standing at the hostess stand looking dumb while people asked me why they couldn’t sit at those open tables that were just vacated.

All of these quitting moments were fairly inconsequential in the course of my life. I made a decision that I was better off not doing something than doing it and then I didn’t have to do it anymore. And I was usually happier. No soul-searching, no regrets.

Then, the time came that I had to quit something big – law school. I was more than half-way through when I quit law school and now, 10 years later, my only regret is that I ever started in the first place. But at the time, I had no idea if it was the right decision. I was miserable, living in the pit that is Camden, New Jersey. I couldn’t imagine spending my life working with the sorts of jerks I was studying with. I hurt my knee rollerblading and was mugged on the same day. My roommate hated me and probably plotted ways to kill me in my sleep. Even after I got my own room, you can see how I could want to leave and never go back.

But I was still scared. Still worried about whether or not I was doing the right thing. I asked my dad if he thought I was a quitter and he said “Oh no honey, I don’t think you’re a quitter, I think you’re a bad decision maker.”

I’d like to think that I’ve become older, wiser and a better decision maker (one out of three isn’t bad, right?). The time has come for me to make a difficult decision and I think that this makes me a good decision maker, even if it does make me a quitter. I’ve decided, in light of having missed almost 3 weeks of training and due to the fact that I still sound like a TB ward, I am going to have to take a pass on this year’s Dublin marathon.

I don’t feel that I’ve been able to build the base of training I need to continue preparing for the marathon. I also think that I’ve missed enough runs at this point that trying to play catch-up would put me at increased risk for injury.

I’m going to go to a Plan B. When I am well enough to run again, I am going to work myself up to where I was when I got sick and hurt – short runs of three miles (Tuesday and Thursday), five miles (Wednesday) with a weekend long run of 10 miles. When I get to that point, I am going to hold there and continue to run that schedule until January of next year. Then I am going to pick a European marathon and get training for it. I’m thinking Barcelona in March. Or maybe Paris in April.

Such choices. I hope I can make the right decision!


At 16 August 2005 at 00:46, Anonymous John Corrigan said...

Pity about the marathon, though your plan sounds good. However, training is going to be tough during the winter...

Good to hear you are up and about. And back blogging: I have only been reading three weeks and I am hooked.

At 16 August 2005 at 14:26, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The distance from Dublin to Paris is about the distance from Cleveland to Camden. I'm so jelious you live so close to the best cities in the world rather than the worst cities in the world like me.

I think you're making a good choice. It shows you're taking running seriously. I'm sure you could have patched together some Oprah-fied quicky version of training and just gotten through the marathon. But you aren't a hack. You are a runner.

- Shane

At 18 August 2005 at 01:40, Blogger Lyss said...

Sounds like a good decision to put your health first. I can't believe your dad said that you, must've been an awkward moment.

I keep wondering what would've happened if I hadn't quit piano lessons.

I did find out what happened since I quit tennis lesson at age 14- I'm still good. Turns out that my dad's idea of tossing balls to me across the driveway from age 5-9 plus lessons in middle school = muscle memory.

At 31 August 2005 at 06:51, Blogger The Aupair said...

I love that- you're not a quitter but a bad decision maker. That's great!

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