Excuses, Excuses…

“Nobody believes your excuses but you.” -quote unattributed

Let’s start off by loosely defining an excuse as a way of mitigating responsibility or blame versus a reason which clearly explains a fact. To be be grossly over simplistic, consider this example. Excuse: I couldn’t run because I had a cold. Reason: I have no legs, I cannot “run”.  In the excuse, I could have run, but I do not mention that I made the choice not to run. I defer the responsibility to the cold. For those who feel the man with no legs is just making an excuse, that he could run on his hands, the quotation marks around the word run are just for you.

Somewhere I have a list of excuses.  I sat down one day and wrote them all out. I don’t have the time.  I’m not fit enough.  It’s snowing. I had a solid list of a hundred different excuses and there were many variants – It’s snowing could expand to 6 or 7 different types of precipitation.  I then took my list and crossed off any excuse I had already used before.  My logic for this was simple, any excuse I had previously encountered, I should now be able to figure out a way to get it done.  If snow was a problem, I would just get a gym membership and run inside or do some research into snow cleats. I then started going through and crossing off the excuses that I knew had not stopped friends.  I am too old to start running got crossed of since I know many late in life runners. Physical maladies got crossed off the list. Unexplored limitations got crossed off the list – how do I know that beyond Portugal is the end of the world if I have never sailed beyond the sunset? I have never run a marathon before axed.

Of the 10 or 15 excuses that were left free from the magic marker most were either silly or sad.  The sad ones were quite often morbid (car accident, death in the family) and the silly ones were just taking up space on the page (alien invasion, rabid chipmunks on the loose.)  There were one or two valid reasons.  It took me too long to recognize Cannot run due to injury as a valid reason. Time used to spend with loved ones is still on the list and even more important with losses in the past couple of years. Running doesn’t pay the bills is still on that list, but maybe someday it will get crossed off.

What are your excuses and what are your reasons?  Maybe you should sit down this week and write them all out, get them off your chest, and air your dirty laundry. Figure out which are the just excuses and which are valid reasons.  Make the choice and own it.  I’ll leave you with a stupid little joke from my door to door sales days.

I was selling prepriced natural gas door to door.  This was in Canada and the rumor of all Canadians being nice is greatly exaggerated, especially when they think you are trespassing.  I finally came across a smiling house wife who seemed very interested, but halfway through my spiel, she turned and said “I’ve got to go, there are two chipmunks screwing on my dining room table.”

Intrigued, I held the door and said, “There are two chipmunks screwing on your dining room table?!?”

She said, “Oh dear, I overshot my mark.  There aren’t any chipmunks inside.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Well, I figured I wasn’t going to buy from you so any excuse would do.”

Accountability

Still focused on food intake and consistency, I lost another two pounds this week, weighing in at 271 lbs.  I did have a day of hot and passionate cookie love but was able to keep this from becoming a daily ritual.  I chose to run only 3 times this week.  My 11 miler on Saturday had been planned to be 12 but I chose poorly at dinner the night before, didn’t get up early enough to make oatmeal, and didn’t bring a water bottle or energy replacement.  Towards the end of the run I was suffering from some shin and knee pain so slowed down and then chose to stop and take a couple days off.  I still logged 21 miles last week though.  Swam as cross training and didn’t get to do the simple weight training exercises, my own fault and poor planning. Lots of stretching and reread some of my training books to reaffirm why I was having some physical problems and recommitted to following my training and my rest and recovery plan.

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