How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

Yesterday I visited an old haunt, and decided to park in Georgetown under the Key Bridge and try to run to the airport. I made it to gravelly point and decided to turn around- lest my parking meter expire and the DC parking gestapo find me. When I turned around and started running back to the car, I could see the spires of Georgetown University in the distance. In the far far distance. I imagine this is what the view of Hogwartz looks like from the vantage point of platform 9 and three quarters.

I started to have a mini meltdown that my car was SO. FAR. AWAY. And then I remembered an old joke that my physics prof used to say: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

What he meant was that when he would put a complex problem on the board, the way to solve it was to break it down into several smaller simpler problems. Solve the problems one at a time, then you get the answer to the big problem. One bite at a time.

When I first started running, I started with 5Ks. The thought of running 3 miles made me want to quit because it seemed like an impossible distance at the time. I could NOT run 3 miles. So, I told myself to only think about running from one light post to the next. And that’s how I ran my first 5K- one light post at a time. Now that I’m running longer distances, I think about it in shorter chunks. One 10K at a time. Or one 5K at a time. The marathon is not 26.2 miles. It’s just a couple of 10Ks.

When I was a kid, my parents had a garage sale. My grandma sat in the front lawn with me selling childrens books and old clothes for 50 cents. I told her we’d never make any money this way, and she said “If you take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.” At the end of the day, we had over $100. My grandma might be the smartest woman alive.

I’m trying to apply my marathon attitude towards other aspects of my life. This week I’m bringing my lunch to work every day to save some pennies. If I take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. I’m not going to think about all the money I want to save this year. I’m just going to think about the money I’m going to save this week. I’m going to live my life one 10K at a time.

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About marathonermegan

Training for my first marathon
This entry was posted in running psychology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How do you eat an elephant?

  1. Samantha Shaw says:

    This is terrific. Very very good advice.

  2. I would imagine D.C. is a pretty place to run. And I’m having a yard sale tomorrow! I’m in Annapolis so you can run by. šŸ™‚

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