Category Archives: anxiety

Ideas to Execution

I am an idea person. I have lots of ideas. Ideas and thoughts of all kinds constantly spring to mind. Ideas that excite me and motivate me and make me want to take action and do things. But that is where the problem is, I am an idea person.

I am not great at executing my ideas. If an idea energizes me enough I will often start working on it and even make some significant progress. But eventually the energy and the motivation fades as I lack the motivation and determination to see the idea through to completion. There are so many notes and half written projects stored on my computer. So many ideas that just haven’t gotten off the ground because I lose steam.

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Ideas are easy. Execution is hard. I am not a good planner. I am not good at the details. I am not good at all the concrete actual things that need to happen to transform an idea from a thought into something tangible in the real world. It is one of my biggest human failings.

Sometimes ideas never emerge in a completed fashion because another idea comes along and crowds out other ideas with the energy that comes with the excitement of something new. Sometimes an idea never materializes because I simply forget to follow through.

Other times ideas never go anywhere because I am afraid. That most terrible and unstoppable of human emotions. That one emotion that can stop us in our tracks and completely undo us. The one emoton above all others that most of the time is completely unfounded. The fear and anxiety that comes along with trying to do something great. Trying to do something real that you believe in personally is the scariest most anxiety producing thing a person can do. What if you fail at this dream you’ve had. What does that say about you.

This has been one of my biggest struggles. The constant fight against the fear and anxiety that emerges every time I take on a new idea and try to make it real. I am desperately trying to overcome this hurdle. This website with everything that is on it is part of overcoming that hurdle. I try to regularly add new content. I try to write new posts and share new photos. When you see long stretches of time where that has not happened, that is when the fear and anxiety has gripped me. That is where I wanted so badly to share something but just couldn’t find the strength to actually type the words.

Sometimes it takes something big happening in your life to give you the fortitude to do the things you have always wanted to do. It might not even be a good thing that has happened, but you might be able to draw purpose from it. That purpose will fuel you and give you the strength and determination to work on the things that you are passionate about. Accomplishments come most naturally when they involve the things that matter most to you.

For me the things that are most important to me are dogs and running, especially in the past few years. So when you look at my website you will find that most of my content has to do with dogs or running. I include e a lot of photographs in my content. I love photography but photography is not what I love to talk about. My content is not about photography. My love of photography allows me to communicate about the things that are most important to me. I am probably a better communicator through my photography than through my writing but hopefully they complement each other well and people appreciate the work.

Find the things that make you tick and find the energy to create something from that.

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Trying to Run a Better Race

 

Running the 2016 Wineglass Half Marathon:

I’ve known for about 52 weeks that I would run this race again. I ran my first half marathon here in 2015 and I knew I wanted to do it again and do it better. This was the one race I knew early on I would run this year.

Last year I was nervous if I would even be able to do it, but I did. This year I did something I had never done for any other race and I set for myself a pace/time goal. As the race began to loom on the horizon, I began to get nervous that I would not run well and what felt for me like a terrible race over basically a half marathon distance for a relay did not help the nerves.

I am not good at prep and planning for events like racing. I am more of a just go and do type person. So I was relieved when several of my friends running Wineglass asked if I wanted to car pool with them. Perfect, several fewer things to have to worry about on my end. Meet at the specified time and ride up with them. No decision making or planning by me needed.

The night before I felt like I was all prepped and ready to go before going to bed. All my clothes were laid out, racing and pre/post clothing. Gear laid out: hat, gloves, belt pouch (for chews etc.), compression sleeves, and headphones. I had everything in the same room in close proximity to make it almost impossible to forget. My wireless headphones were plugged into my computer to ensure a full charge so they would last the whole race. I had my camera out and battery plugged in to charge so it would last the whole race. Yes, I said camera. I’m a photographer and try to take a camera with me wherever possible.

We got to the starting location for the half marathon nice and early. Plenty of time to relax, stretch, eat, prep, and do all the pre-race things that only other runners are privy to. As I was getting ready I realized I forgot band aids to prevent chaffing (guys you probably know what this is about and maybe the girls too).  Strike one. The always-prepared Eric Williams thankfully had some extras that mostly worked. (I don’t want to talk about what happened when they stopped working. LOL.) As I was getting ready to run I realized I my headphones were definitely fully charged, because they were still at home plugged into my computer. This is after spending hours trying to put together a decent running playlist to pump me up throughout this half marathon. Strike 2.  As I am getting to the starting line I get my camera out to take a few photographs of the crowd of runners and the scenery only to discover that this battery too was still at home safe and sound fully charged. Strike 3. I was really hoping this was not a 3 strikes and you are out type of situation.

I was really starting to get down on myself for being unprepared right before the race. Not good. Fortunately for me Joette Foster was with me. She of the always-positive attitude gave me a quick attitude adjustment and got me back in a positive frame of mind.

As I waited alone for the race to start, if one can be alone in a group of thousands, out of the crowd materializes friend and fellow runner Georgia Tucker. We talked about the pace we were each planning to run and settled in the area where we figured we should be in the crowd, no pacer running the pace we were targeting. Unfortunately for Gorgia, but fortunately for me, she could not get her music service to connect so she too had no music to run with either. We ran and talked for 10 miles. In addition, we stayed pretty much at the pace I wanted for the entire 10 miles. I actually could not believe I could run and chat for 10 miles at basically my goal pace. Running and talking with Georgia helped me to not think about the running or the miles I’ve run or the miles still to go. It was so enjoyable to run with someone I knew and could talk to. I had my Garmin watch set to notify me if I was going too fast or too slow for the pace I wanted. That allowed me to just glance quickly and see if I needed to speed up a little or could slow down some then just keep talking and keep on keeping on running with Georgia.

A mile 10 the wheels started to come off a little bit for me and I could not keep up my pace and Georgia and the pacer I really wanted to stay in front of pulled away off into the distance. I was still running ok but could feel the strength leaving my legs. I just didn’t have much left in the tank. I was excited to see my friends at STRC and the SOAR kids cheering runners on and that gave me a quick boost of energy but it didn’t last. I was able to finish the race at a good time for me 2:15:32. This was a significantly faster PR for me. I felt good almost the entire race. I was happy with the results.

The race was great and I enjoyed it and felt accomplished by my run. However, by far the best part for me was the post-race. Over the past year being involved with running groups and clubs like STRC I have gotten to know so many runners, where in previous years I had known none. If anyone was there to cheer me on at previous races it was my amazing wife, Debby and one of my dogs. I’ve gone to several races where I showed up alone, run the race, and then immediately gone home because I didn’t know anyone.

This year was totally different. This year I knew at least a dozen people who were running in either the full or half marathon. This year I had friends, support, and comradery from the running community. This is something I would never had and I would have even known was possible without joining great running groups like STRC and No Meat Athlete, Corning. They welcomed me into their group and made me one of them. They supported me throughout this journey and encouraged me to work hard when I didn’t think I could do it.

When I crossed the finish line I first looked for my wife. She’s been there supporting me through all my craziness. She pointed Joette out to me in the crowd and we congratulated each other on a well-run race. We found, Lindsay Barrile, the person who has been the captain of this running crew I have been fortunate enough to fall in with. Lindsay planned great workouts and training for us and I did more structured running thanks to her than I ever would have. Let’s face it I would have done no structured running workouts without her. We found the speedster of our group Eric and the four of us got our picture taken together, which I had never done before at a race. We sat and recovered together. We talked about our races, where it went well for us and where it came off the rails. We shared our successes.

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Me and Kira after the race. (Photo by Debby Reynolds)

We all went to change into some dry cloths so we could enjoy the rest of race day together. I was able to find Debby in the crowd with one of our dogs who was very excited to see me. It is always great to have the support of my loving wife and one of our great dogs after a race. It always helps to ease the post-race discomfort when you can be snuggled by a dog.

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Me and Kira after the race. (Photo by Debby Reynolds)

Our group of runners was able to reconnect after changing and watch more of the runners finish there races. We were joined by another friend Sarah Wellington who was able to return after spending some time with her family. We were able to hang out, socialize, and enjoy some great food and a few beers on the always-fabulous Market Street in Corning, NY.

While we ate we were able to monitor another friends progress in the full marathon thanks to the Race Joy app. Brande Flaitz was running the full marathon and we wanted to cheer her on. I was in communication without other STRC members out on the course cheering and they were wondering about her progress. I was able to relay her position using the Race Joy app. We were growing concerned that she had become injured as it seemed she had fallen off her expected pace for the race. Brett Shelton who had been cheering with other STRC members and the SOAR kids ran out to meet her at mile 24 and see how she was doing. As we tracked her progress it was suggested that we go out to the course and meet up with Brande to support her in this effort. Thanks again to the Race Joy app we were able to find her exact location and drive over and meet up with her around a mile or so out form the finish. Sarah who was still recovering from her race and her own injury broke into a sprint upon seeing her and ran out to support her. Lindsay, Joette, Eric, and I all joined them.

Brande was clearly in pain. She was gutting it out through the pain of her injury. We were able to walk and ran with her towards the finish line where she successfully finished her race. Despite being injured, she was still moving at a decent pace. I couldn’t keep up without running.  I had never been a part of something like this. A group of people supporting each other and encouraging one another to push our limits. This is what running is. This is the community of runners I have been lucky enough to become a part of is all about.

Brande didn’t get to run the race she had envisioned but she ran the race she could given the circumstances she was dealt. She gutted it out through sheer force of will and determination when many others would have given up. She ran a race many others including me could not have run. I am proud of her for her toughness and her ability to dig down deep and see that race through to the end. This was a day I will never forget for so many reasons and I am so glad I was there to be a part of it. I am so glad I became a runner.

Ideas that never see the light of day

I find that throughout the day I have a variety of ideas come to mind.  Bet this happens to you too. I often have enough ideas pop into my head that at some point I have forgotten at least one or more of the ideas I thought of. Some ideas are not important and are little frivolous things with really no significant consequences if I forget them. Other ideas are more important to me and may have to do with business, photography, art, dogs, or a variety of other topics that interest me. Some of these ideas are things that I would like to research a little more or read up on. Some of them I would like to write down and see if I can find a way to make these ideas work for me in some real way and incorporate them into my life. To help me do this I have started writing things down more (typing them up in my Evernote app). This way I at least don’t forget them and can come back to them and reference them and rewrite things and make changes and updates as I find out more information.

I find that actually making my ideas happen is where my shortcomings factor in. I love to think of things and think about things. I have a constant flow of information that I like to read and listen to and this inspires me with new ideas and thoughts frequently. And these ideas get added to my list. I write them down and describe what I think I would like to do. And then……. And then nothing. It fizzles out. That nice long list of ideas and goals and projects that I have generates very little actual action. Nothing gets produced. Nothing gets done. It’s not that I stop thinking about the ideas or topics I have noted. It’s that I just can’t bring myself to make any further progress. I am a world class procrastinator for one. I can always find a reason to put things off or something else I can do instead. Like write down more ideas. I also, as many people probably do, experience significant anxiety about taking any further action on a variety of tasks. This part of making it real creates some real, at least in my mind, fear. Fear of exposing myself to the world, or that one person I have to send this to, to try to move on to the next step. I am afraid I will be rejected. Afraid to be exposed as a fraud. Afraid to succeed? If I take that next step and I am not rejected then I have to do more work and then probably expose myself to even more people and possibly even more rejection. Is it in my head or is it real? I don’t know. Maybe it’s both.

While the fear and anxiety may be real, is it justified? If I am rejected what have I really lost or suffered? There is no real physical threat but the threat is to my psyche and my psyche is very sensitive to that threat. I should be able to overcome it. I tell myself this all the time. It is not logical to fear sending an email, making a phone call, or submitting my photography to an editor. What is the worst that can happen? They can tell me no thanks or just ignore me. And I have been told no in the past and it hasn’t hurt me and it hasn’t closed the doors to those opportunities. I can contact other people with my ideas and get a yes eventually if I keep trying. So why is it that I have such a hard time moving on to this phase of idea and project fulfillment? Perhaps I will never know. Maybe I am not meant to know. It seems so simple. Just write a letter and hit send. But it is so much easier for some reason for me to sit here in my cozy box in my comfort zone where I do not have to take that chance. I don’t have to reach out and make contact and expose myself. Will I ever be truly happy in my career that way? Probably not, but I will be safe. Do I want only to be safe? No I want to be happy. I have spent my whole life with the single-minded idea that I want a career I enjoy and find fulfillment in. SO why is it so hard for me to take the necessary steps to make that happen. Why am I afraid of finding happiness, of fulfilling myself? Maybe I am afraid that after all of this work and thought I will be wrong and I will not be fulfilled by my choice of pursuits. Maybe that is the real fear that is holding me back.