Quote from one of the books I am currently reading, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki:
"Some people start to practice Zen just out of curiosity, and they only make themselves busier. If your practice makes you worse, it is ridiculous."
Thank you Suzuki! I recently quit training for the Twin Cities Marathon and this just reassured me, again, that I made the right choice. Yes, I said it. I quit. I am a quitter. I kept forcing marathon training on myself even though it was making every single day stressful.
If I didn't run I felt guilty, even if there was no time or I was on vacation.
If I did run but not far enough I felt like a failure.
If I had a bad run I felt hopeless.
After a couple of months of this combined with a very painful hip injury and other running problems I finally said enough. I started running because I loved it, it made me happy. I trained for a half marathon because it was a fun goal. I wanted to train for and run a marathon because I thought it would be a fun challenge. It ended up just being a challenge.
And you know what? I am so happy to be a quitter! I am in no way a failure. I went for about a 6 mile run yesterday and it was so fun. Without the pressure of running 35-50 miles a week or having to fit a 15 mile run into my weekend (thats over two hours of running for me...) running is now SO fun again! It was very hard for me to quit because I could reason my out of it with thoughts like "other people can do it" and "you're just being a baby!". Well, when we compare ourselves to others we will always fall short on some aspect. My training was making me worse, and it was ridiculous.
Who knows if I'll ever actually run a marathon. There might be a better time in my future where excessive amounts of running fit into my life/schedule. For now I will be happy, not jealous or with feelings of inferiority, to stand on the sidelines of the TC Marathon and cheer on the other runners. The saying "to each his own" really does apply to me in this situation.
Being a compulsive goal setter I'm already on to my next (shorter distance) running related goal. 23 minute 5k? 1:30.00 half marathon? I'll let you know if I commit to a goal ;)
Are you a goal setter? Is it hard for you to say no or quit things even when it is making your daily life worse, not better? Did you count the number of cliches/inspiring quotes I used in this post?