Let's talk about something that can be applied broadly across more than just your training plan. It's something I've found to be so important in every facet of life that I'm making this topic the first in a series called:
GETTING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!!
"If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones."
Don't get me wrong... I love routine a lot of the time. I like coming home and knowing what I'll see when I walk through the door -- the chaos, the shrieking voices, the feet, the smell of something cooking. It feels nice to do some things over and over like tradition.
But there are also times when you gotta stop. Break up your routine and your habits to try something completely "out of character" (whatever your character is).
Someone once told me it didn't surprise them that I was drawn to running (after trying lots of different sports through school). When I asked why they said, "because you're kind of a loner." It's true. With the exception of the occasional Golden Gate Park kickball game or friendly soccer match at the playground, I am not a team sport person. I like being alone when I run, and I welcome any opportunity to get a few moment alone in real life.
The pic above is me. At a boxing class. It was a team building event with my colleagues (who at the time were all women - women I love and respect a whole lot). Even though everyone was so excited about trying out the boxing gloves, I felt seven shades of how the hell can I get out of this. I am at least a decade older than many of them, and the idea of wearing spandex in a fluorescent room together while pounding the crap out of a bag - and each other! - was...not my first choice let's say.
But, like most other things I do that feel uncomfortable at first, after a few minutes of laughing and shaking our booties to Single Ladies, it was all good. Now I can cross it off my list. My point is...try it. Just do it before you think too much about it. It's like jumping off the dock at the lake before you take a second to think about how freezing cold it will be!
Same with parenting. I had hard and strict rules when The Dude was first born. No fast food. No processed food. No toy weapons. No television. No skipping naps. No fun. (kidding about that last one but sometimes it felt that way to my kids!)
So the pic above is The Dude trying out his new Christmas gift -- a bow and arrow with target. I bought it without telling Jon and when The Dude opened it Christmas morning, his jaw dropped. He couldn't believe this gift came from me since I'm the one who is always deleting iPad games with weapons and tossing the occasional Lego gun or sword in the trash.
But I'm raising great kids. The Dude and I have real life talks a lot and we don't protect him from topics like violence, so he has a good head on his shoulders. And I'm pretty sure giving him a foam dart was not going to turn him into a criminal (though I did beg him to use the "target" side instead of the "deer in the scope" side but he over-ruled :)
My point is that even with parenting, it's nice to shake things up. To let the kiddos experience something they don't usually get to try. For example, I'm the parent who doesn't stop my kids from stomping in puddles. Conveniently we live very close to our playground so it's easy to get home and get in new clothes, but generally speaking neither Jon nor I are strict about keeping clothes clean.
And of course sometimes my advice will backfire. Take this fine example of me being so ultra cool free range parenting that I let Croc play in a bath of dog poop and pee. I didn't realize until I stood within smelling distance of him what he was actually making mud pies in...
And of course sports - especially running - are great ways to get out of your comfort zone!! Go for morning runs with a friend. Join a running club. Run on a trail instead of the road. Run on the road instead of the treadmill. Enter your first race (I was almost 30 when I entered my first one!).
Once you start doing it, it becomes addictive and almost de-sensitizes you from the uneasiness the next time you're faced with the opportunity to try something new!
Tell me: What have you done lately that was outsize your zone?
If you are a parent, do you let your kiddo roam free?
It was a windy, foggy morning in San Francisco but I finished with a 9:57 pace and I was happy with that. And what made the morning even better was that I made plans to meet up with a very old and dear friend of mine after my run. I timed it just right and finished literally three minutes before we were supposed to meet.
I used the three minutes to try to dry off the top layer of sweat from my bright red face. In true noob fashion, I did not bring a change of clothes or a towel so I had to resort to using the world's tiniest hand towel (read: an eyeglass cleaning cloth).
I saw a man dressed in a full business suit - including a tie! - running the path too. Only in San Francisco.
Tracy and I met up at the Warming Hut which is smack dab on the waterfront at Crissy Field. If you are planning a trip to the Bay Area you are going to put Crissy Field at the top of your list. It was once an Army airfield but the Presidio turned it back into its former glory. It's also a great place to get dog envy!!
We grabbed some hot tea (to warm me up after failing to bring dry clothes!) and started walking. Let me tell you something about Tracy. She is the kind of friend that makes you feel good about yourself just being in her presence. I've known her for about 17 years when we both moved to SF around the same time. I was devastated when she left the west coast to move to Wisconsin (though happy she met her future husband who is awesome in his own right!). I was sitting in an In N Out when she called me a few years ago to say her husband was transferring to San Francisco. I completely lost it in that place out of pure happiness to be reunited and living in the same city!
This woman knows me better than almost anyone in the world. And she know ALL of it - the good, bad, and the ugly...and she has stood by me through it all. We can go months without talking and pick up right where we left off without skipping a beat.
For a long time I worried too much. About stupid things like tsunamis and diseases and car accidents -- things I have little to zero control over. I wasted all kinds of years living in the future living out awful scenarios in my head when real life was happening all around me (and a damn good life!). Tracy and I have talked about everything under the sun and she's helped me learn to live in the moment. To be calm. To meet life courageously. I'm so lucky to know this woman.
I couldn't believe she'd never seen Hoppers Hands in all the years she lived in San Francisco so I walked her there. Actually there have been many iterations of Hoppers Hands - the salt and wind of SF has pounded each of the signs...but they've almost all looked something like this. The story is that Ken Hopper, one of the iron workers on the Golden Gate Bridge, put the hands on the fence at Fort Point in 2000. He often saw runners touch the fence before turning around to change directions, so he put the sign up for them. I think it's a beautiful story made even more beautiful when you read about how he volunteers much of his life watching out for suicide attempts from the bridge. He's saved dozens of lives. There are such good people in this world!
We took a very long walk and then hugged it out, promising not to wait so long between our next visits. She is a very busy woman who also travels a LOT (to very cool places) so I don't see her as often as I'd like.
I did a few tricep dips and stretched my IT band. I REALLY REALLY wanted to see a whale in the Bay and even brought some binoculars but no sightings dang it! I think I'm the last person in the city to see a whale at this point.
I came home to this scene and it made me the happiest person alive.
I hope your Sunday is a good one too!
Have you been to SF?
What is your favorite landmark in your city?
“Mayday? Why, that’s the Russian new year. We’ll have a big parade, we’ll serve hot hors d’oeuvres…”
(Almost) daily blogger. Sober runner. Mental sh*t stirrer. Pro gender equality in tech. Family first.