Recently I was speaking to a friend about running, and the fact that I plan to do a couple races came up. He told me that he does not care much for races, and this made me question myself a bit. Of course I know I’m not doing it to show off; I can barely run a 10 minute mile. And so I thought about it, and I remembered why I have that focus on races. I use races as a short-term end goal.
I was diagnosed with ADHD around 8 months ago, so I am very much still learning how I can improve myself. One thing I have always had a hard time with was sticking with things. I will start projects and maybe they will get finished eventually. A few weeks ago I finished sewing the boxer shorts I had started making last December. Even projects that seem short are difficult for me to finish. I just forget about whatever I was working on.
Long term goals are even more difficult in this respect. For example, I have been trying to learn Korean for about 4 years now, and I’m still terrible at it because unless I have a class with homework to turn in, it’s incredibly difficult to find the motivation to study. I think one of the reasons for this is that there are no obvious milestones in learning a language. The end goal is to become fluent, but it’s difficult to break that into smaller tasks. Running is like that too. The end goal is to have a healthy heart and lungs. There are some milestones, like running a mile within a certain time, or being able to run a specific distance.
I find that races work as great short-term goals. I need to register for them well ahead of time, so that I don’t feel like I can simply not go to the race, and I need them to be near enough into the future that I don’t feel like I can put off training for it. Races are like an evaluation. Sure, I suppose I could just time myself, but I will just end up putting it off because I’m tired or it’s too hot out or whatever other excuse I can think of. Races are great because they are on a specific date, and even if you don’t reach your goal time, you still know you pushed yourself. If I were timing myself, I would end up running a mile before deciding I’m too tired today and I will try again in a few days. Then it will never get done. The race makes me accountable.
Also, I don’t know if this is terribly weird, but I love finisher medals. They give me a sense of reward. For whatever reason, I can’t be satisfied just by meeting my goal. I also want a medal. So I have a few races with medals lined up for the coming months, then in December I am doing a race that does not give out a medal, but that race is a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, so I am running to raise funds. If you wish to donate to the cause, please click here. I have a ridiculously high fundraising goal of $500, and so far I have only raised the $35 that I donated, so any donations would be appreciated. My hope is that with the research funded by this race and others like it, a cure for arthritis can eventually be found, or at least a way to ease the pain.