Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Muse - Do Not Procrastinate the day of your Registration

I used to be the poster girl for procrastination. I was very good at waiting until the last minute to do something. I think I got a thrill out of the pressure and the challenge of finishing something in just the knick of time. No more. I am not quite good at planning ahead and preparing to do things before it gets hairy. However, I find that I am still rushing to do things at the last minute because I am relying on the efforts of other people. I procrastinated something very important, and it nearly ruined me.

Last September, 11 of my friends and I did a 200-mile relay in New Hampshire called Reach the Beach. It was such an awesome experience that most of us expressed enthusiasm at doing the race again. Cameron and I quickly began making plans to do so. My good friend, JD, came to the race last year as one of our drivers. Either he got bored with seeing the race behind the wheel or was inspired by something over the course of that 30-hour relay and he decided after we got back that he wanted to do the race this year. That made my day. He asked me to draw up a training plan so he could do a half-marathon in March, which he followed. He now runs more than some people I know who claim to be runners. Seeing him train and prepare has been a joy and one of the main reasons why I love doing this kind of thing.

Spring rolled around and registration opened. I emailed all my friends and compiled a team. I kept telling them we needed to register, but I was never very adamant about it because it seemed that there were a lot of spots open and if we missed out there was always the waiting list. A couple weeks ago, I saw that spots were going fast, and I felt an urgency to get our registration in... so I began hounding my team. I was waiting for one more person to pay me before I registered, but I felt confident and began preparing for the race. I planned our first group run for this past week, and those who came seemed to have a good time. I could see the excitement and enthusiasm was mounting and spreading like a contagion. I have been looking forward to this race for months, so this was a good beginning. Thursday morning I just happened to hop onto the race website only to see that as of the day before there were only 5 spots left. I quickly whipped out the credit card and registered immediately. I felt as though I had just been very lucky. Little did I know how lucky I had been.

Later that day, I decided to peruse the race website again to see if there was any more information on the course and lodging. I just happened to go to the bulletin board discussion page and to my horror there was a message from the race organizer that had been posted that morning that the race was full and there would be no waiting list. I immediately got sick to my stomach. What if I had not registered in time? What if I had just ruined our chance of getting in because I had procrastinated. I was nearly in tears. I tried calling and emailing the race organizers but with no success. When I had registered it just told me I would receive a confirmation email in a couple of days. I couldn't wait a couple of days. If it had just been me, and I had not registered for a solo race out of my own stupidity and procrastination, then too bad. Sure, that would stink, but the only person I would be disappointing is myself. In this situation, I would not only be disappointing myself but 11 other people who had already begun training and were excited for this experience. I was beside myself. I was useless at work the rest of the day. I couldn't talk to people on the phone without feeling somewhat removed and discouraged. It was terrible. I kept a prayer in my heart that a miracle would take place and save me from this mammoth disappointment.

To most people, this would not be the end of the world, but it sure seemed like it to me. Most people would not say running a 200-mile relay sounds like a good time, but I assure you that this event and experience is rewarding in so many ways. For me, it is not just the thrill of pushing my body, the fun of running through an entire state or the craziness that is running over 20 miles in a 24-hour period on little sleep with less than desirable fuel in the form of peanut M&Ms and energy bars. This is more about bonding with people and helping them accomplish something that they didn't really know they could do. It's seeing Brent who hates running, especially without his iPod, run almost 18 miles sans iPod and enjoy it so much that he wants to do it. It's seeing JD go from just weight lifting and casual running to being one of my solid runners. It's Cameron accompanying me almost every day on a workout adventure so he can conquer that last 9 mile leg of his position with dignity. He will own it. It's having my dad on the team this year. The last event we did together was the Ironman, so I am excited to have him be a part of this challenge.

Luckily, I got home later Thursday night to find an email in my inbox confirming our registration. I almost broke down crying from relief. I had procrastinated and there is no reason why I should have been spared from this bitter disappointment, but I was. A miracle took place, and I am not going to take that for granted. We slid into this race by the skin of our teeth, and I learned a valuable lesson. Somehow it means more to me now. I want to work harder and coach better. I want to help my team have a good experience and also finish this race better than they expect to. Thankfully, I got to send an email to my team telling them they could register themselves online rather than breaking the news that I had cost them their chance to compete. This race is not about me. It never has been. It is about all of us as a whole. I am so excited for the race this year. I am excited for my team individually and collectively. I will not procrastinate the day of my registration ever again.


Nicole Cave said...

I wish I could get my butt in gear and excersise like I used to . I am not going to make excuses...I know I just have to decide to do it!!

Nikki said...

I think it's a little bit harder when you have 3 kids... I only have myself and sometimes Cameron to worry about and it takes a lot of mental will power some days. I just keep telling myself that I have to get it out of my system before we start having kids and I have considerably less me time.

Nicole Cave said...

Don't ever get out of the habit, even when you do have kids!!