Last week I told a friend that I want to start addressing my workaholism. He reminded me that workaholism doesn’t just manifest itself on the job. I am a control freak. I’m especially controlling when it comes to my time. I leave and breathe according to my schedule and I don’t like it when my plans unravel. Today my plans unraveled, and the result was actually fantastic.
My mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law are in town for the weekend, celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday. Earlier this week my hubs told me that on Saturday he and they were going to visit relatives two counties away. I asked if he wanted me to go, and he said there was no need, as there would be other b-day activities for me to attend. I got really excited about having an entire day all to myself. And true to form I created a huge list of things I was going to do: run eight miles as part of my half-marathon training, continued work on a kitchen re-do, some recovery journaling, and perhaps a pedi. The temperature today was to reach 68 degrees and I was so excited about scheduling my run for later in the day with no jacket or gloves required.
Last night as hubs was telling me more about his Saturday plans, it became clear that this wasn’t just hanging out with relatives. It had become a somewhat structured birthday party with lots of relatives. I started to feel weird about not going. “This sounds like something I need to attend,” I told hubs. “Yeah, if you want to,” he responded.
So my obsessive-compulsive Saturday alone flew right out the window. I was informed that we had to leave the house at 11:30 in order to make it to the party on time. I had to decide which of my planned activities I could ignore and which was non-negotiable. Hmmmm, I have a half marathon in about 10 weeks and I would be spending a good chunk of the day with in-laws. It was a no-brainer. The run must go on.
I did a ton of talking to myself between last night and this morning. I reminded myself that family is more important than anything. My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s Disease and this is very likely the last birthday she will be “with it” enough to enjoy a party. My self-talk prevented me from having a resentment. I felt calm. I emotionally let go of everything I had originally planned to do today, except of course the run.
My run in balmy temperatures turned into a 7:30 a.m. jacket/glove/earmuff-wearing jaunt. But a funny thing happened. I don’t know if what I experienced was a runner’s high (can’t say I’ve ever had one of those kinds of highs), but I was in some sort of flow. I had no concept of time or distance. I felt very loose. My mind wandered freely while I listened to my Ipod. I didn’t have a care in the world. I ran my usual slow pace for a long run (I was out there for two-plus hours) but every time I looked at my GPS-pace watch (the fantastic Garmin 305) I was amazed at how many miles I had covered. When I finished the eight, it felt as though I had only been running for about a half an hour.
Whether or not I experienced a true runner’s high, I choose to believe the flow I experienced was a result of letting go. I let go of my expectations for the day. I let go of my need to do too many things. I let go of my need to spend the entire day by myself (although I enjoyed the solitude of the run).
I think I’ll try letting-go more often and see what happens.