Stall Tactics


Yesterday I wrote about observing friends in a 5K/10K – here’s the photo of those intrepid athletes. I stole it off the Body Dynamics Facebook page; hope they don’t get annoyed! That’s Barbara on the right (her yellow “I’m a long-distance greyhound” 10K tag is under her pre-race jacket), and lovely Kathryn the therapeutic masseuse is next to her. Then came wise Regina, the biofeedback counselor I’m working with, and Regina’s son (who came, if Regina’s grinning statement is to be believed, because runners got free food).

Aren’t they beautiful?

And isn’t it surprising that this race – a race I didn’t even run – plunged me into a depression?

The thought of doing what they did (or at least what Regina and Kathryn did – the 5K, not the 10K) filled me with a don’t-bother-fighting-just-flight response. It makes me shake my head wordlessly. Attempting to verbalize my feelings, I fall back on “Oh – no. No, no, no. HELL no.”

I don’t want to run that far. I certainly don’t want to run that far in public, with people watching and clapping and encouraging and someone holding a stopwatch. I don’t want to think of me gasping for air while person after person passes me, possibly stopping long enough to say something encouraging or make sure I’m still experiencing a typical heart rhythm… I just don’t want to do that.

And the plan is for me to do it in JUNE. That’s just terrifying.

I’ve run FIVE TIMES. And if Barbara and I continue our pattern of running at the beginning of our Tuesday sessions, that would mean that my twelfth run ever would be a 5K. That’s too much. It’s too soon.

I’m giving this plan the ol’ stiff leg. Not doing it.

But I WILL run a 5K in October, when the Virginia weather breaks and the swelter oven is turned off in our region. By then, I should be able to run more than I walk; by then I might greet the thought of a 5K with mild pleasure instead of paralyzing fear.

I’m stalling – and in one use of the word, “to stall” means to lose engine power and fall out of the sky. I hope my stall doesn’t mean I’ll crash and burn. I don’t have the courage to do a 5K in June – but I’m not giving up. I’m just delaying.

Yes, it feels like failure. On the other hand, I’m no longer scared and anxious. So I’m willing to accept the failure. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to work out on the elliptical.

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3 thoughts on “Stall Tactics

  1. Ok, as a sister perfectionist, I get your feelings of failure. But please consider the following: (1) One year ago, you weren’t even exercising regularly. (2) Only you are inside your body, therefore as helpful, knowledgeable, and well-trained as they may be, no one knows you better than you. Trust your instincts. Honor your gut. Respect your body, mind, and spirit’s messages. (3) Even if you aren’t moving forward as fast as you’d like to, Baby steps as still moving you forward. (4) You haven’t quit, you’ve only delayed. (5) You have a plan to help you succeed and a team who wants you to succeed. (6) You are loved, not for what you do or achieve but for who you are. You don’t have to wow anyone. We’re already wowed by you, for the amazing person you are. All love, Dear Prudence.


    1. I can’t embroider it on a pillow, for your comment is long and lovely; I’m going to have to embroider this on a comforter and sleep under it every single night and wake up stronger and more confident! Love you, Sushi – thank you!!


  2. WELL DONE! I’m impressed and proud of you — so brave to publicly say yes, then , not now, but later.
    I keep thinking of my music parallels. When I started playing cello at the age of 45, my teacher said, “You know what is REALLY fun, is playing with other people.” The first time she made me do it, I was on the edge of tears the entire time (three of us in a private living room —you’d think I could cope, but apparently not.). When I could finally speak without bursting in to tears I told Lois (my teacher) — “sorry. Can’t do that any more.” “But you were fine,” she enthused. “Nope,” I sniffed. “Not Fine.”
    Three years later, on a different intstrument and playing a different kind of music, I showed up at my first ‘slow jam” — a low key gathering of folk musicians of wildly varying skill, in a private space. . I was sweating buckets, but they were kind and played a tune I knew. I thought: Maybe again — in six months or a year, or so.
    I’m now a regular (twice a month), and even go to other ‘sessions’ — in PUBS. I’m always terrified. Always exhilarated afterwards. I still like playing tunes at home best —quietly learning jigs and reels by ear and from sheet music — but I now go out and play with others at least once a week. It makes me a better player. I learn how the tunes are really supposed to sound. AND they give me new tunes, that i go home and learn, and come back and play with them, and as Lois said, that IS REALLY fun. Terrifying. But Really fun.
    Sorry to go on about this, but I so get the terror of doing something you’ve never done well in public. I also get that it’s nice to choose the thing and the time for yourself. XOXOXOXO


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