What do pianists and runners have in common??

Mon, April 30
Ran 1/2 mile on the treadmill at lunch

I now understand better why I can’t play the piano. It got hard. I look lessons for a number of years as a kid from Mrs. Chadwick, but I just didn’t like to practice. It turns out that my impatience (yes even as a kid) combined with my Taurus-like stubbornness kept me from keeping a discipline of practicing the piano in order to get better and actually learn to play. It wasn’t something that came naturally to me so eventually it became harder and harder to improve my playing without putting the time in to practice. Eventually I ceased piano lessons, stuck with singing and sadly, can only play chopsticks on the piano now. My sister, on the other hand, can still play the piano beautifully today (yeah, she practiced. She also got our family piano!). Lesson learned.

This week I have re-learned a similar lesson with my sore shins. After running only 1/2 mile on the treadmill at lunch yesterday before having to stop to walk because of my aching shins, I took the advice of a runner colleague and went immediately down to see the athletic trainer (yes, these are the benefits of working at a university!) He was very nice and told me to do the following things in order to still be able to run on Sunday:
1. Take 2 ibuprofen about 4 times a day with food as long as it doesn’t bother my stomach
2. Stretch my calves with an incline block (and he showed me 4 different exercises to try)
3. Ice a few times a day.

So you’d think I would be grateful to have some great advice, right? Nope. I was just pissed that this was happening to me and there was more work involved. I mean hadn’t I already worked enough?? I didn’t have to go this all this rigmarole for my first two major races!! I knew there were things I could do to help my shins, but honestly I didn’t want to do those things. I didn’t want to put in the extra work and time to heal my body properly. I just wanted to run, have a good race experience in Pittsburgh and get the medal. Now, don’t get me wrong – it is not that I don’t want to work hard: exhibit A – full marathon in Sept. But, I think what I’ve learned here is that I don’t want to work hard when it is hard work. Does that make sense? The first time around for both of these distances was easy for me. It was easy in terms of my desire and motivation to do the work. I mean, I was in! I felt like I had something to prove! Putting in the work for the training was hard, but it seemed “easy” because I wanted it so badly and I was so committed. This second time around has been more difficult because of my lack of motivation. Motivation has impacted everything else. Not wanting to run as much has influenced me to NOT run as much and fudge more on my training program. Well, it turns out that skipping too many of those runs during the week and jumping into a long run on the weekend probably isn’t the best idea. Couple that with a series of long runs followed by no rest days afterwards and you have a recipe for unhappy shins I do believe. Not to mention an unhappy runner. This training cycle has been more work than fun and I don’t like that! So what is the lesson here? Not totally sure yet, but this is what I’ve learned so far:

1. To finish what you start
2. To listen to your body
3. Put in the work even when it isn’t exciting.

Earth shattering news I know. But sometimes the simple things in life are earth shattering because we try to make them more complicated than they really are!! So I’m off to ice my shins (dixie cups filled with water make great ice-rs!!) and finish my healing regimen for the evening.

Next up: Some quality time on the elliptical tomorrow morning at Life Center

One thought on “What do pianists and runners have in common??”

  1. Lisa, you know …. what you just said makes sense for life in general (although I’d never really thought about it until you wrote it down for me.) The first time you accomplishment something is just, well, exciting and motivates you to move on… but once you’ve done it, well the motivation seems to wither. Can’t seem to find the right words, but it all makes sense–lifewise. Thanks!! Good luck with the shins and love ya!

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