Running · Sports · Women

“Consistency or Death!”

…So said two signs I saw during a weekend run. I was fairly certain they were there to motivate a big training group that morning. Fairly.


Assuming/hoping that was the case, I got over my initial mild alarm, laughed, and realized I couldn’t really argue with that message. In running, consistency is platinum.


Question: if we achieve some modicum of consistency in running, does it flow into other areas of life?


I like to think I’m a consistent person. I don’t flit around from job to job, or from home to home, or from relationship to relationship. I have routines, and they don’t change a whole lot from day to day. I kind of like it that way.


It’s tough fighting Nature, though. Nature prefers change – seasons and evolution and all that. Very gradually, changes around me have started…getting to me. It’s nothing dramatic; it’s no sub-conscious earthquake or volcanic eruption. It’s more like a sub-conscious riverbed erosion. The changes have been happening for years – the usual stuff, seeing friends and relatives get married, have babies, move, divorce, move again, etc. At work, the faces I knew five years ago when I started the job have been largely replaced with new ones. Heck, even my favorite New Mexican restaurant got replaced by another New Mexican restaurant.


Meanwhile, I remain…consistent. If I continue the riverbed metaphor, that makes me what, sedimentary rock? Sweet.


Consistency: something people strive for. Ruts: something people avoid.


How do you tell the difference?


I guess if you maintain the status quo and continually get satisfaction, even joy, out of it, you are not in a rut. Otherwise, to quote a profound line from When Harry Met Sally, “Yeah, well. You know. Yeah.”


I think we all face a mixture of consistencies and ruts. Right now in my marathon training, I’m this close to starting the taper, which I liken to riding a roller coaster that’s climbing a really big hill. Right before reaching the top, you take a quick look around at the world spread out below. Approaching this running crest, I can’t help but look around.


I see the ruts in my life: the job I’m tired of but afraid to leave without a secure safety net; the romantic life that’s become, shall we say, xeriscaped, for reasons that could probably fill their own blog post; even my running. Not the act of running, but the results. I’ve run nine marathons and the difference between my best-ever and worst-ever is less than 12 minutes. Geez.


But I also see the consistencies: my family’s support. My friends. Writing. Going to church. Running itself. Good things.


A phrase that’s everywhere these days goes something like, “If you don’t change anything, nothing will change.” Catchy, and true. But let’s face it: sometimes we just don’t KNOW what we want to change, or more often, how to change it.


So. Incredibly. Frustrating.


That’s where consistencies, the good things, come in handy. Consistencies get us through until we figure out how to shimmy out of our ruts. Keeping up with the routine things that do bring us satisfaction may not seem earth-moving or significant, but the Grand Canyon wasn’t formed in a day.


I went to that new restaurant, the one that replaced my favorite. And I really liked it.


5 thoughts on ““Consistency or Death!”

  1. I think there’s something to that sign, consistency or death. Consistency, like in training, brings a certain expertise and power, and consistency then turns into progress–which is change. Everything changes. Nothing is stable. Things either get better or worse, they grow or decay. To be stable is to decay, in some sense. There is no standing still.

    Don’t fear change. Embrace it. Chances are that even the new Mexican restaurant has something better than the old. And who doesn’t like to go on a quest for the best margarita ever?

  2. After spending six years in ABQ after my evacuation following Katrina, I’m interested in the side issue of your post. Which restaurant closed? What is there now?

    To the main issue. Nature (your body too — being part of nature) seeks stasis. Seasons, and the changes that come with them are cyclical phases of the whole. Consistency is fine for mechanical movements — running in your case — hitting a baseball or building the framework which allows you to do something that is creative. But, seeking consistency can really hurt the entire process of what you are doing. 🙂 — Ray

      1. They closed well before I left. They couldn’t pay their city taxes, apparently. So, the entire chain closed. I was hoping you weren’t go to say something like Garcias or Sadies. 🙂

  3. I totally get what you’re saying here. I really related to your paragraph about your job, your love life, etc. It’s hard to know what to change, or if you know you want something to change, you don’t know how to change it.

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