A lot of pressure comes along with this post because it is my first post as a bonafide marathoner. Just saying the word "pressure" causes me to flashback to the scene in Ace Ventura when Jim Carrey says, "Pressure, what do you know about pressure?" So here it is; my take on the issue of pressure.
First of all, just like with stress, pressure can be both good and bad. If kept at manageable levels, pressure causes us to improve, to develop, to excel. In many instances, pressure leads to progress. However, if pressure builds up too high the consequences can be catostrophic. Yes, Mcdonald's ketchup packets will explode if jumped on by an exuberant 3-year old because too much pressure has been exerted. Furthermore, this phenomenon is best not tested in your van like my three year old boy did the other day. Maybe he would have been better off watching televison at that particular instance (just kidding we still don't watch TV at our place). Likewise, when my brain's pressure grew too high a few years ago, that was not progess that was just a scary medical emergency. But still in the right situations pressure is a good thing.
When I was running the marathon this past Sunday, the pressure of the onlooking spectators was a great motivating factor. It was a very good pressure. It oftentimes kept me from walking and during 26.2 miles there were plenty of opportunities to walk if not for the audience pressure I would have walked more than I did. The pressure of the clock was a good thing as well. When I knew I was on track to finish around 4:30, the pressure of the ticking timing clock was a very positive thing. It propelled my completely exhausted body in a forward motion which at that particular moment in time was a very good thing.
The pressure of the pace groups was also a welcomed pressure. (side note here there are actual groups at marathons that pace to a certain time so that you can tag along if you are trying for a certain finish time. It is pretty incredible that these runners are so in tune with their running to assure their timing performance on race day). It was because of the pace groups and my running buddy that I finished when I did! The last six miles I knew I was between the 4:29 (Oprah group) and the 4:44 pace group. So each time I thought about walking or slowing down I used that pressure to continue moving forward!
One more topic regarding pressure. Toenails. Apparently the pressure on my toes on race day was too much because I have lost two more toenails from the marathon. Also my favorite sign from along the marathon course was, "Toenails are Overrated!"
So it seems I should have some infinite words of wisdom and encouragement now that I have endured my first marathon and indeed I do! First of all, never dismiss a slightly crazy or ambitious idea as unrealistic. That only limits what you will accomplish. One of my favorite signs from the marathon course was, "26.2 because 26.3 would be crazy". Just between you and me, I'd run 26.3! Many people label an idea as too far out there without giving it enough consideration and they miss out on some great things. Second, make each second count and don't waste time (watching TV is a monumental waste of time so cut back or turn it off. I swear you will adjust and life will not end). And finally think about the pressures in your life and work to manage them in a manner that will allow you to progress and improve over time!
So television. What are my thoughts on life without television? To be honest, I have not so much as thought about television in a very long time. I have seen my Spartans be victorious over U of M and I watched the Tigers to the bitter end, but other than that my television is black and will continue to be so. I have better things to do with my time!