Tonight I turned in my first assignment for my first class in my doctoral program at Creighton. I have all the angst that goes along with a first assignment. It was a blog that I posted. I reasonably pleased with the angle I found; however, after I put it other there, I discovered some additional instructions for the assignment and wonder if including my thoughts on that in comments as opposed to my own post is sufficient.
I also looked at the rubric again. In that there is a scale that goes
1. I did not participate
2. I did the minimum
3. I impressed my family (and I'll add or my friends)
4. I impressed my classmates
5. I impressed my instructor
6. I impressed myself.
I know I did more than the minimum as I brought in outside sources. I impressed at least one friend and am working on my mother (she required a special explanation of how to access the blog).
I find out about 4 and 5 as the week unfolds.
Impressing myself is a tough nut to crack. About a year ago I finished my first marathon and was not impressed with that feat. It was a hot day and my time was not where I expected it to be. In fact, I walked almost the entire second half of it because I did not want to get over heated. The best I could say about it, is that I was able to come up with a strategy that allowed me to finish. My second marathon at Disney in January was no more impressive. It was the the day after completing a ½ marathon. At least the medals were better. That marathon also ended up being a very hot day. I had not adequately trained, so I went to it disappointed in myself for not following through on my plan. At 23 miles I was behind the 7 hour pace and so lucky I did not get pulled off the course.
This evening I have been mulling over when I have impressed myself and what it would take to impress myself. I was extremely proud of myself when I finished my first half marathon in March of 2009. I trained hard for that one, with more regularity and diligence than the first marathon. I finished in a very respectable 2 hours and 29 minutes. I was impressed with myself. The problem with the marathons is that I knew I could do better. The reality is in the Nashville marathon is that I did do the best I could under the conditions of that particular day. The next morning I signed up for Disney because I wanted another crack at it. I failed to live up to the expectations I set for myself in the preparation and as a result I barely finished. I also swore I never had to do that again.. the Goofy.
So what did I go and do a few weeks ago. I signed up for the Dopey in 2014. It adds a 5k and 10k for a total of four days in a row of runs. I sat on registering for four days. I really did not want to train that hard will I started down this school endeavors. Somehow the bug got me in the midst of feeling like I was getting old as I struggled with perimenopausal symptoms and an existential crisis. I saw it as a chance for redemption... maybe have a chance to impress myself. Certainly this feats impress my family and friends.
An interesting thing happened with the bombing of the Boston marathon. I suddenly felt part of a community of people... people who have completed marathons. Running now seems more purposeful, not just about me and what I want to prove to myself. I also read something that in a blog post that so resonated and began to change my attitude about my own marathons.
The blog is: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-959560
The paragraph I love in it is this one:
No matter how hard you train, no matter how experienced you are, no matter how many marathons you've run, the easiest a marathon ever gets is "really difficult." On a bad day, it's a long, painful, demoralizing nightmare.
Somehow in reading this my own demoralizing nightmares became more impressive to me. Or maybe just that I am willing to enduring it again to see if I can get down merely really difficult. It is not just the marathon itself. It is the long, for me 5 hour, training runs, where it is just me and my head. Maybe on the next one I can search long and deep for the ways that I do impress myself.
Going back to the rubric standard, I realize that in this case it took seeing my experience through some else's eyes to find it impressive. I'm not sure that impressing myself is a good academic standard for me.
The other times I have impressed myself have been moments in human interaction where I have shown up as more than I thought I could be. The most notable is a time when someone was moving out of my house in 2008. Prior to the exchange where I showed up as empathetic and understanding and we ending laughing together, she had been on the phone with a then mutual friend screaming. I don't think she knew I was at that friend's house. It was even suggested I not go home right away as no good would come from it. I did and then had this exchange. In moments like that I think I impress myself because I get out of the way and let God flow through me. Those are rare moments.
It seems like the everyday things that I do no longer have the capacity to impress me. I wonder if my expectations for myself are too high or I do need to look at myself through another set of eyes. I am tempted to ask how do I look at myself through God's eye. I tend to believe that God has pretty high standards for us.