As a graphic design student in college, I had to pull a lot of all-nighters. These consisted of locking myself in my room, turning on some music, and working until the project was done. At one point during this time in my life, my goal bedtime was 2 AM. 4 AM was my cut-off for still being able to function normally for the entirety of the next day. Staying up all night would result in me crashing at exactly 4 PM the next day.
Sometimes, if a project was due the next day, staying up all night was a necessity. Sometimes it was just something I should have done to stay on top of my workload. In these instances, it was a bit easier to simply work until 2 and then say, “Screw it. I’m tired. I’ll finish this tomorrow night.” This was especially easy to do if I hadn’t made a conscious decision to stay awake until the job was done. I would trick myself into believing that I had planned on staying awake, but somewhere in the back of my mind I knew my real decision: stay awake until the first excuse comes along and then go to bed.
On the nights that I actually stayed up as long as physically possible, I simply said to myself beforehand, “I’m not going to bed until all of this is done and ready to turn in.” There were no excuses; the job was getting done.
How does this relate to running you may ask? Well, I was reminded of it yesterday during my run. At 5.5 miles, yesterday’s run was the last long, solo run of my 10K training program. The first part of the run was difficult. It was mostly due to lack of concentration; I kept stopping even though I didn’t really need to. I was seriously considering ending the run at the 4-mile mark. But, at about 3.5 miles in, I heard this lyric emanating from my headphone speakers and cutting through the static in my head, “Left, right, left, right. Keep it up, son.” It’s from a song by The Kills. (Listen to it below.)
Not only did it have a good motivational message, for some reason, it also reminded me of my need to consciously decide to stay awake all night during my college years.
Right then I decided that I was going to finish all 5.5 miles and I wasn’t going to stop if I physically didn’t have to. So, off I went for the last 2 miles of my run. I had to slow my pace a bit, but I didn’t stop. The satisfaction I felt from seeing “5.5 Miles Completed” on my Nike+ app was a feeling like no other! It felt really good to just power through and accomplish something I’d decided to do.
What did I learn from this experience? …One, there is a lot of power in consciously deciding to do something. And, two, lessons learned through graphic design can be applied to all aspects of life. Seriously.