About a year and a half ago I completed a half-marathon. I say I “completed” because I can’t say I ran the whole way, by any stretch of the imagination. Actually, I can’t ever say that I run anything! I jog. But I do put one foot in front of the other at a generally faster pace than walking, so it’s something.
I started the race with a lot of energy so I took off at the pace that accommodated my enthusiasm. Then at mile 6 I initiated the jog-walk cycle. I walked up hills and then jogged down them. I made it to the end and wasn’t the last one, so I counted it a win.
I started the race with a friend of mine. We didn’t plan to run together and she had a running buddy so when I had energy that first mile, I took off while they chatted. I didn’t see them again until later – when I found out they finished the race 15+ minutes ahead of me. They ran the same pace the entire way and didn’t walk. It was the classic case of the Tortoise and the Hare and I was the “lesson” we teach our kids: don’t be like me because slow and steady wins the race.
I think I run all of life like I ran that race.
I love new ideas and new projects. I love all of the energy and enthusiasm I have when I start something new, and I enjoy completing tasks. But I have never been slow and steady. I’m all over the place. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a strength and it’s a weakness.
It’s who I am.
I am super-excited that I started writing for my “job” a year ago. I love that I can write a blog post or article and have it out in front of people that very same day. It fits my all-over-the-place pace and my love for completing projects. A few months ago I started writing a book (that is currently with my editor). I hit the ground running – HARD – and finally made it to mile 6. Now I’ll probably walk-run to the end because I am excited, but my sprint pace only lasts for so long.
My goal is to post to this blog on Tuesdays and send out emails on Wednesdays, but here – at mile 6 – I can’t quite hit my own deadlines. In the past month or two I beat myself up for my lack of consistency and inspiration for writing blog posts until I realized that maybe the Hare’s “consistent” framework just has more wiggle room than the Tortoise. Maybe it’s OK if I post on a Wednesday or Thursday here or there and maybe it’s OK if I miss a week of emails. (I know…stop laughing)
I want to keep writing, speaking and offering my voice so others will be able to offer their’s, and I want to do it for a long time to come. I know I can’t sustain my typical mile 1-6 pace. I know that I will be a healthier person and better wife, mother and friend if I find a sustainable, steady pace. So I’m pushing back deadlines a little and dialing down my own immediate expectations a notch.
But I doubt I’ll ever be steady. I’m not all that concerned about “winning” races. I’ll still try to take advantage of the burst of enthusiasm that thrusts me forward at beginning of a project, but I won’t be surprised or beat myself up when I hit mile 6 and need a break. In fact, maybe I’ll plan for it. Maybe I’ll set deadlines for the half-way point of projects and then reset my pace and determine project completion deadlines at that point.
I don’t need to be Tortoise. I just want to allow some of the wisdom of the Tortoise to help me be a healthier Hare. Who said it’s a race, anyway?
Are you a Tortoise or Hare? What are your corresponding strengths and weaknesses? How do you manage them?
Your steady pace is inspiring. Don’t be discouraged when you see a Hare sprinting at the beginning of a race. Cheer them on and then give them a drink as you pass them at mile 6.
An admiring Hare
Your enthusiasm is inspiring. Don’t be discouraged when a Tortoise offers you a drink at mile 6 and then passes you by. Thank them, cheer them on and then reset your own pace with confidence.
A fellow Hare