When I begin to see warning signs of Driven overload — like the fire and the running sickness — I ignore them.
It’s okay, I told my girls when the smoke alarm first went off last Wednesday. Probably just the home protection system battery going. So, I finished getting dressed and then went downstairs to a house full of smoke and potholders in literal flames on my stovetop.
Two fire trucks did arrive (photo above courtesy of my neighbor Robin) around the same time my mother-in-law did for dinner/babysitting. (Not my best mom moment, though the fire fighters said my roast chicken looked — and smelled — excellent. But, to be clear: I don’t condone setting fires just to get compliments from men in uniform.)
As for the running, I’m training for the Pittsburgh half marathon in two weeks, and I’ve been steadily increasing my mileage by one mile a week. Sunday’s 10-miler was precisely what my training schedule called for. Yet the day was about 20 degrees warmer than the weather I’ve been used to running in, and the sun beat down mercilessly.
I already knew I should aim for a 10-minute mile pace since it was such a long run, but I decided that would take forever, so why not aim for a sprightly 8:40 or 8:50 pace to move things along? (This is pretty fast for me, so you speedy ladies don’t laugh.) At about 8 miles, I was ready to be done; oddly enough, I felt no specific knee, back, or ankle-ache — it was almost more like a dull organ ache.
(Mom, if you’re reading, it was really just my knee. Seriously.)
I am used to running long, and feeling crappy afterward, but when the dull, flu-like ache continued through the rest of the afternoon and evening and the following day, I began to Google things like “overtraining.” While my symptoms don’t fit those of overtraining and I’m starting to feel better, I am scaling way back this week, taking several days totally off and then playing it by ear.
In light of my recent Driven demi-disasters, I’m taking a different tack than usual. Rather than broadly assuming I’m just doing too much in every area of life and trying too hard — and using it as an excuse to eat chocolate and buy expensive coffees and read novels — I’m viewing this is a wake-up-and-smell-the-Discipline call.
I’m going to pray for consistent (i.e., Disciplined) healthy habits: reasonable exercise, smart food and rest choices, adequate time for prayer, bible reading, and reflection.
I’m taking this as a chance to become more Disciplined (which, I’m learning, is as much about the “no,” or “not as much” as it is the “yes”), rather than collapse into a post-Driven heap of self-indulgence that I can only pull myself out of by becoming Driven toward a new goal.
I’m praying for Discipline as a lifestyle, not a punishment; for Driven as the occasional occupational hazard of a recovering perfectionist — the exception, not the norm.
This year, I’m running 13.1 hilly miles through the city of Pittsburgh for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. My daughter has been battling Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM) – a rare systemic autoimmune disease that affect 2-3 children per million — since 2012, including more than 16 hospital overnights for IV infusions of steroids and immunoglobulin treatments. I am designating all the funds I raise to the department that treats her — rheumatology — an often underfunded and little-known specialty.
If you’d like to consider sponsoring me for the half-marathon and helping support pediatric rheumatology, you can donate here.