I went for a run yesterday. This is not big news, but it is news nonetheless, and it has inspired this latest installment in my Big Giant Metaphor series. You see, in days of yore (yore being last spring), I made a practice of going for a run several times a week.
And I should probably begin by clarifying that, for me, an activity qualifies as running if it involves just two components: forward movement and an iPod. All of that other stuff, like time and distance, is just window dressing. Negotiating my route on all fours while being outpaced by postpartum moms with jogging strollers and 5-year-olds with training wheels still qualifies as a run so long as I don’t accept the passing paramedic’s gracious offer for a ride home. That’s just cheating.
So, I went for a run. I realized that I have been making excuses for too long. I’m too busy, I’m too tired, it’s too cold, or it’s too hot — these are the little permission slips I tend to write myself when the reality is that I just don’t want to expend the energy. And yesterday it would have been oh so easy to play hooky again and stay home in lazy land because it was a little on the warm side.
I went anyway. Donning one of the 47 "running shirts" I now own compliments of the latest Inman Real Estate Connect conference (and if you have ever considered attending, you should go just for the free T-shirts), I braved the elements. About the time I conquered, gazelle-like, the third expansion joint beyond my driveway, I was spent. I wanted to quit. This is when it hit me that it wasn’t technically too hot to be out there. I was just uncomfortable. In this season, I just have to work a little harder and sweat a little more, but I can still run if I really want to.
Our real estate market has become a little uncomfortable. We have tended to become a big bunch of whiners since the weather changed. Short sales are just so hard. Sales are down. There aren’t enough buyers. Sellers are unrealistic. Banks are ruining everything! These are the dishes being served up daily at our pity party. I recently decided that "Bad Day" needed to come off of my running songs playlist in favor of "U Can’t Touch This," finding that the former didn’t exactly set the most awesomely perfect performance-inspiring tone. Similarly, I am finding it more productive to turn a deaf ear to all of the woe-is-me rhetoric. I can sit at home or in the office wringing my hands because it’s too hot to venture outside, or I can quit playing the victim and learn to make what forward movement I am able given the circumstances. It’s Hammer time.
The others I see on my runs remind me so much of the agents I see in our industry today. There is the top producer. He is wearing his Boston Marathon T-shirt, a vast assortment of water bottles strapped to his waste in ammo-belt fashion, and a GPS. He runs fast, he runs far, and he knows where he is going. He wins races I will never enter, but then he has been working far harder than I to achieve his goals. He has earned it. Then there is the new runner. She stops to walk a lot because she is just learning her limits. At least she is trying and, in the process, she is making forward progress, albeit at her own pace. If she sticks with it, she will get better and get farther.
There are the casual runners. They show up in groups, and for them it is mainly social. They are much more concerned with chatting than with getting anyplace anytime soon, but that’s what happens when an activity is strictly recreational. They have a tendency to just get in everyone else’s way. Then there are the quitters. I see them once or twice, and then they are gone. Sometimes I suspect they just don’t want to work very hard, but it could be that they have physical limitations or they simply find no enjoyment in the activity. Whatever the reason, they were ill-suited for the sport.
Finally, there is me, and I am somewhere in the middle. I recognize that I will outpace some and many others will continue to outpace me, but I am running because I want results and because I love it. Sometimes the weather cooperates, but lately it hasn’t. This just means I have to sweat a little more to get to the same place. I can’t control the weather, but I can control my response to it. So this season I have had to adjust my methods. Because the black Street Advisor shirt absorbs heat, I wear one of the other, white ones I scored from the vendor exhibits. I leave earlier or I run later than I am used to. I am finding new ways to achieve forward movement given those pesky and dynamic external factors that are messing with my routine. I find that I have to adjust my expectations. Occasionally I have to stop to catch my breath. It may take me a little longer, and I may end up burning more calories, but I know I can run when the weather is hot if I really want to. I just need to know where it is I want to go, and I need to be committed to getting there. And, I always have to make sure I am listening to the right music.
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