Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankful for Superman

I have difficulties looking at the big picture and problem solving my way out of a situation. I tend to get caught up in the moment, and seem to focus only on the problem and not be able to step back, take a deep breath, and use logic to figure out a solution. As the saying goes: "I can't find the forest because I'm lost in the trees."  Case in point:  The Oven.

Two days before Thanksgiving, the bake element on our oven burned out. I found a replacement element, read the directions online, and thought that I could do this on my own. As my husband had hurt his back the week prior, I thought that if I fixed it, that would be one thing he wouldn't have to do and possibly hurt his back further. It seemed easy. I pulled out the old element, and noticed right away that the connecters of the new element were shaped differently than the old. Because the manufacturer said that this was an appropriate replacement, I continued, thinking that it would not be a huge deal. However, I couldn't fit the connecters into the back of the oven. And, when I pulled it back out after getting it stuck, the oven wires were disconnected and were no longer in the oven cavity. They were lost in the abyss also known as the back of the oven. A rational person would have stepped back and evaluated what they could do to retrieve said wires. I couldn't didn't do that.  I freaked out. Thinking that I had just destroyed the oven and thinking that I had just created a bigger problem than I had tried to fix, I fell apart. I cried, I yelled at the oven, I shook the oven (because of course, these actions always help a situation). When I finally was worn out from my emotional tirade, and our dog Lucy had stopped licking my tears away,I defeatedly told my husband what I had done. He very simply unscrewed the back of the oven and the wires were right there. He showed me there is no abyss in the back of the oven. Logic does win out. And the whole time he was showing me, I was thinking to myself, "why didn't I think of that?"

It reminded me of a story my mother tells about when I was young. I was running and pulling my toy dog (I think it was a dog) around the kitchen table. The toy got wrapped around the leg of the kitchen table. As the story goes, I threw a massive temper tantrum right there in the kitchen and kept yanking and yanking on that string. And as the story goes, my older brother, the problem solver of us all, swooped in and saved me by gently explaining how to unwind the toy from around the kitchen leg.

Hmmm.... Forty years later and I still need someone to swoop in and save the day.

The Quitter

They say you learn a lot about yourself when you are training for a marathon. I think that's true, but I've learned or actually, re-learned a lot about myself during training, during the race, and after the race was over. It's been a month and a half since I ran the Chicago Marathon. People said it would be "life changing" and "amazing" and I'd "never be the same." All I can look at is what I've experienced, and what I see frankly, I don't really like.

All I wanted to do before the marathon was quit. Don't get me wrong, I had bursts of inspiration, but training was hard and what I learned about myself is that I don't like hard. I'm sure that working hard for something and see it come to fruition is incredibly satisfying. I know it is, I've experienced it before. However, that isn't the road I tend to lean toward. That isn't my first choice in routes to take. I choose the easy route any time it comes available.

All I wanted to do during the marathon was quit. The only reason I didn't was because I feared it would take longer to reconnect with my family afterward than just continuing along the route marked before me. Once again, although it seemed like I was accomplishing something really difficult, it was the easiest route for me.

All I have done since the marathon is quit. Some holier than thou runner posted something on facebook saying that if people quit running after they run a marathon they aren't really runners.

I told myself that the first thing I'd do was go out and get a 26.2 bumper sticker. I have yet to get it. Why? Because I don't feel as if I accomplished anything. I guess that's what it comes down to. I ran for all sorts of reasons, but one thing that I expected was to be changed. I expected to come out of the training and the race a champion. Instead, I came out defeated. I didn't accomplish my goal to lose weight during training. I didn't have a changed pallet that made me only crave vegetables. My struggles remain the same, my goals remain aloof, and I feel completely defeated.