Saturday, 12 April 2014

A lesson in flexibility

Back in late 2013 I made a list of running events that I planned to do in 2014.  I studied all of the available runs that I could find.  Some I had done before, some I dreamed of doing, some I found while researching.  I spent ages on this list.  Let me find it...

Check that baby out!  Not only did I plan my entire running year, I also used about 2 apps AND 2 filters to create this perfect masterpiece.  I posted it on Instagram and here, on my blog.  I think I may have also taken the brave step and put it on Facebook.  I accompanied it with a little disclaimer: "this may change but..."

Umm, aca-scuse me?

Who was I kidding?  If I write a list (and make a photo thing of it (did I mention using 2 apps and 2 filters), I sure as hell will be seeing to that that list is fulfilled to the very last kilometre!

I meant what I said with those words, "this may change but..."  I also said "money and time dependent". I meant that too.

However, on the inside, there is a little part of me, that regular readers will have learnt of by now, that I never bank on.

It's like this mini Macgyver type resolve.  No matter what, I make things happen.  Call it determination, strong will, anything you like.  I think from now on I'll call it MMM: my mini Macgyver.

Look, I'm not Superwoman, sometimes MMM flakes out and I don't manage.  But it's usually after taking a helluva good shot.

However, MMM is the silent type and I seem to never remember when I say things like... "oh
sure this may's dependent on money and time, we'll see how I go...umm...ahhh...yeah..."

Because MMM is on the inside, all like "umm, wtf Kate?  We're frigging doing it!"

LOL. that's where I was at.  At the beginning of the year...I had my little list of 23 events and I was ready!  I even printed out photos of each of the race maps to cycle through sticking them on the little piece of Blu-Tak on my work computer. That plan of 23 events was in print, baby, it was happening!

I did the first six with no issues.  This was going to be easy!  Resolution Run, my 3-in-1-day Triathlon Pink events, Convicts and Wenches Australia Day Half Marathon, International Women's Day Fun Run.  I was so proud of myself - 6 down, 17 to go: yahoo!

Event #7 of 23, the Mooloolaba Twilight Run, made me pull out all stops to be there - MMM worked for it's money that day, it was in overdrive.  But I made it.

Three days after that run, I was on a plane, traveling to Sydney to attend my grandmothers funeral.  I was sitting next to my Dad and we chatted the whole way.  He asked me if I would like to come on a cruise with him.  He explained that he had a 3 day cruise booked in May with my Mum, but (long story), she may not be able to go on it due to work commitments.  He wondered whether, if my Mum couldn't, would I like to go with him?  (I wouldn't have to pay either, by the way!)

I asked what the dates were...he told me, and I sighed.  That was the over the same weekend that I had a run booked in: The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon.  It was to be my first interstate run, I had flights already booked - - - and, it was Official Scheduled Event #11.....

I asked Dad more details, to see if I could jetset-ingly attend both.  Nope.  Macgyver is good but he can't be in two states at once.

Here's the thing.  I hadn't paid for my entry, and my flights were completely refundable.  Really, all I was stressing about, apart from the fact that I had my heart set on doing this run, was that it was on The List!  And I couldn't let down The List!

Apart from the irony of me wanting to run a half marathon rather than go on an all expenses paid, all you can eat cruise (!), my biggest perplexity was how to work this out.  I didn't want to let my Dad down.  But I wanted to do this run!

It wasn't a sudden light bulb moment, I'm afraid to say.  It's a bit silly, but it took my next event, the awful Twilight Half Marathon...(yes, that Struggle Street one), to make me wake up.  If you read my post about how tough that run was, I described pretty clearly about how I didn't feel up to it.


Because, it was on my list!

I pushed myself to buggery on that run.  There was a reason I was super jealous of the 10km runners, because that is the event that I actually wanted to do!  I didn't feel like doing a half that weekend.  I wasn't up to it.  But I ignored myself, paid extra money to enter and used extra mental power to cope, for the pleasure of...meeting Jess.  Because really, that was the only good thing to come out of that night. #muststicktolistatalltimes  

I pushed myself to almost breaking point, for what?

However, within that week, I woke up.  I suddenly realised that my Dad was asking me to spend a few days with him...and he asked me this when we were on the way to my grandmothers funeral.  This grandmother was my Mum's Mum.  Mum can't spend time with her Mum anymore - and I know she would give anything to even have a brief moment with her again.  So many of my friends can't spend a few seconds, let alone days, with their parents - and here I am, my Dad offering, and I'm getting all funny about having to change other plans...

I'm so ashamed that it took me a week to realise this.  I think my MMM was active, I had my heart set on sticking to that list no matter what (just trying to stick to goals), and I was a little frustrated as I already had my weekend planned (flights booked). 

But really, what the hell was I thinking?  I am so embarrassed.  I am really close to my family and we all drop everything to be there for each other.  But sometimes I guess, ambition and focus and determination gets so high that it mars what I already know is actually important.  Determination and chasing your dreams are vital.  But sometimes I think we get caught up in life and take goals just that one step too far.

But when I realised what I was doing, the lesson learned pretty much changed my life.

Over the last couple of weeks, I finally realised the true meaning of the word 'flexibility'.  I don't even need to describe how unimportant that particular half marathon is.  Or any run, for that matter.  A few more events on The List that are coming up are seemingly not going to work, either, but for the first time, I don't mind.  I'm readjusting The List at the moment - crossing some out, finding replacements.  I'll do my best to stick to the number of runs, but whether they change from what I had planned in 2013, it doesn't matter.  And if I don't stick to the number, that's ok, too.  Life shouldn't be measured on a published photo (using 2 apps and 2 filters).  We have to go with the flow.  I forgot this for a few months... I'm so thankful for the Twilight Half now, as it really helped me see all of this.

Oh, and I forgot to say.  The day I realised this: I cancelled my flights, booked my Annual Leave, crossed that run off my list and emailed my Dad to say I couldn't wait for the cruise. xx


  1. Im so glad you are going on the cruise. My dad passed away in 2012 and id do anything to spend time with him. Enjoy the trip and ensure to take lots of pictures x

    1. Thank you so much. I'm so sorry to hear you lost your dad. You are one reason why I have to go on this cruise - because I can. I am so sorry. I'm doing this for me and dad but will do this for you and all of the other people who can't, but want to so much. Thanks heaps and I will for sure :) xo

  2. Hi Kate, you truly are an amazing woman. I've recently discovered your journey/story here and on Instagram. I've also just started on my new healthy lifestyle journey recently. 40kgs to lose. 4.3kgs gone in my first 2 weeks. Determined to do this and inspired by your amazing story.
    You deserve this opportunity to go on this holiday with your Dad. I'm sure he'll be pleased that you are able to join him and the break from routine might be just the thing you need. Enjoy and relax!

    1. Thanks so much Shell :) congratulations on your weight loss so far! Keep going, you can do this. Thank you for your support xo

  3. Well done Kate. You're not the only one guilty of this sort of inflexibility :0) A timely reminder to all of us that family is more important than a list.

  4. You've been so focused for so long of course it was going to be hard to let go of the reins a little and not cross something off the list. That being said I am so glad you are going on that cruise with your Dad. Runs and marathons and goals are wonderful and all but memories with family and friends are even more precious. Good for you Kate :)

  5. My dad really wanted to go to Russia and as my mum wasn't that keen and it was somewhere I always wanted to go I said I would go with him. I used up all the inheritance that I had received from my grandmother - my dad was a 4 star man all the way! What a wonderful 3 week trip we experienced together. I'm so pleased that I went as less than 12 months later my dad had passed away. If I hadn't gone I would have always been thinking what if. I'm so pleased that you have decided to go with your Dad and have a fantastic time.