Tuesday, 7 October 2008

How far is 13.1 miles?

A Half-Marathon is 13.1 miles. I worked out on Sunday morning that this was my 8th race at this distance so it is one I am familiar with. I know it's hard and I know it's long, it takes me a little under 2 hours, but somehow I still belittle it in my own thoughts: 'It's only a half-marathon - it's not that bad.' I think it may be something to do with the word 'half' in the name, as if it is only a part of something, not to be taken too seriously. Other people run further, faster and more often; really, it's no big deal.
I notice this tendency to minimize in all areas of my life. So often I find myself saying or thinking, 'It's no trouble, it's just a little thing,' only to find out, slap bang in the middle of it, that it was a lot more than I allowed for.

Cakes are a great example. Occasionally, I am asked to bake something for a coffee morning at church. 'Of course,' I say, 'no problem,' and I scribble in my diary 'Make Cake.' It's not that hard to make a cake, other people manage to fit it in. But I fail to take into account that I will need to put aside an hour, at least, from start to finish to assemble ingredients, make and bake the cake, fill it with jam and then wash up. This will take longer if I have 'help' but I will feel that I am doing something with the children. If I do it quickly by myself, I feel that I am neglecting them and so feel obliged to do something 'educational' and fun afterwards. Then I have to deliver the cake, and, later, remember to collect my tin.

In both these illustrations, my thoughts are heavily influenced by 'other people'. Of course, I don't know anything about these other people. Their commitments may be less than mine, their energy levels greater, or perhaps they are marinating in a cocktail of stress and resentment.

Sometimes it is some trouble and it is not just a little thing. This is not to say that I should not do it, or am not willing to do it, but I have to learn to weigh the commitment involved in an undertaking more carefully, more realistically. To honestly weigh up if I have the time, the energy, the space in my Home Ed schedule and my life in general to fit it in, without stress or resentment or neglect of my own or my children's needs.

Instead of 'Sure, no trouble' I will train myself to say, 'Let me look at my diary and I'll get back to you,' and then to calculate the time needed and figure out if I've got it to give. Then I can say 'I'm sorry, I can't fit that in, but do try me again another time,' or I can say, 'Yes, I can find the time to do that,' with a smile.

I heard on Saturday that I had not got a place through the ballot in the 2009 London Marathon. Perhaps that's no bad thing!

1 comment:

Mrs. G. said...

That is a great response! Practice in front of a mirror so that it just rolls off the tongue. I am a big fan of the response that allows you a moment to decide if you can or should commit.