I’m the annoying person on a long car trip that presses on, not stopping until the destination is reached (other than bathroom stops). No diversions, distractions, or pit stops to keep us from GETTING TO where we are going. I am also that person that orders the same thing at a restaurant, knowing within the first minute what to order. And, I’m the person who won’t stop for picture during a race. Or, shall I say, I used to be.
My mindset often has been about achieving the goal, and minimizing the distractions along the way. Focus on the destination, and not the journey so much. When training for a goal marathon or race, I’d pick out a training plan and STICK to it, with very little variance throughout the training. I wanted to ensure the best odds of meeting my goal.
Blind Spots and Trade-Offs
These are not necessarily “bad” things, but I do believe everything is a tradeoff. A strength can be a weakness, or a blind spot in some situations. Being driven, or goal oriented, lends oneself to being self-centered. Meaning, the focus on the goal puts blinders on things that are in your path. And those things may very well be people, friends, family, or other peoples’ priorities.
Anyhow, back to picture taking. Up until two years ago, I would never stop for the picture. Finish line photos, fine. Post race photos, good. Race photos during the race taken by a random photographer, great. But, to stop for a photo op – never! That means a slower finish time, that other people will pass me. That’s crazy talk.
“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.”
~ Sid Caesar
Yet, I have signed up for several Disney races, where photo opportunities abound. My running friends (Kierstn, especially) would often speak of the many character photos taken during the race, and that I needed to learn how to run a race “Disney style.” I normally just chuckled, said “yeah,” and quickly changed the subject.
I Finally DID Stop for the Picture…
Fast forward to Disney Marathon 2018. Several of us had decided to run the marathon together. One friend was doing Dopey to celebrate his 40th year, and he planned to run smart so he could finish feeling better than terrible. That meant run/walk intervals, bathroom breaks, and gasp!, stopping for photos. I agreed to it, admittedly feeling a bit squeamish about the affair.
We took a BUNCH of pictures. MULTIPLE bathroom stops. At first, I was going along with it just fine. But, I have to admit I wasn’t used to that many stops (any stops, really), and towards the latter part of the race, it was getting to me. Hopefully that didn’t show in my smile for the camera! But seriously, I was struggling a bit with the stopping. I was ready to get to the FINISH. I know some of my friends sensed it, too, but they were kind about it all.
A few hours post marathon, race photos started rolling in. Pictures that captured many race moments, from early on until the finish. A picture diary, if you will, of the race, its ups and downs, and most often, the special moments. Little of this would have been captured if I didn’t stop for the picture. And, I’d miss running alongside these wonderful people, creating memories, laughing, and supporting each other along the course.
Goals are important. They help stretch us beyond our comfort zone, keep us disciplined, help us prioritize our actions, and we feel accomplished when we hit them, or give our best attempt. But, life is a balance. People, friends, family matter — and life is much more enjoyable with these people than without them. What good is it to crush a goal if there is no one to celebrate with you, no one to share the good news, or the struggles you encountered?
My point, if you (like me) are often pursuing a goal, be mindful of how that may impact those you love, and similarly, how that affects YOU. Life is a balance of the journey and the end goal; it is more meaningful if you enjoy and value them both. Now, I don’t measure all races on time. Some races are for fun, and some I’ll push myself beyond where I am comfortable. And, I have photos to prove it.
“It is not enough to be busy… The question is, what are we busy about?”
~ Henry David Thoreau