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Failing to plan is planning to… not be me

By Carin Moonin

Whenever I fly, I am compelled to remove the airline magazine from the seat pocket and flip directly to the back of it. I’m not researching if my flight offers Sprite vs. 7-Up, what other varieties of aircraft this airline also flies, or which exercises are highly recommended to stave off deep vein thrombosis.

Nope. I’m looking at the route map.

It doesn’t matter if I’m embarking upon or finishing the best trip of my life. If it’s for business or pleasure or duty-bound family travel. I just cannot help but be riveted by the pleasingly hued foldout map of the world, cross-crossed in varying colors representing partner airlines, seasonal flights, or service that’s coming in the next year.

Because I plan to go everywhere.

Planning is wonderful. It’s research, intrigue, discovery. Infatuation. I love beginnings. Everything is so full of promise and possibility. Whether it’s scanning flight schedules or cooking up a new half-baked idea for a theme party only I find funny, the best part is at the start.

That is the joy of being an obsessive planner.

Luckily, marathon training fits very well into this (forgive me) “skill set.” Marathon training involves lots of planning. I plot out a training schedule, devote time to planning training and race strategies. I study course elevation profiles like there’s a quiz. I’m sure some people screw around while marathon training; I’m not one of them.

But here’s the sorrow of being an obsessive planner: You have to follow through with what you’ve planned.

I find it hard to go on vacation and not think about the next one while I’m on it. And I guarantee you that when I throw a party or attend someone else’s, right up until the very last moment, the last thing I want to do is go to it. Of course I get over it, and usually have a lovely time, but I require that final burst of effort.

Training is great. I would happily train all the time if I could. I think part of the reason I tend to eschew racing is because that means I’d finish.

Even now, with a certain marathon ticking into the single-digit-number-of-weeks-until-it-happens, I’m already contemplating what I’ll train for next. But the actual race? It’s like having to throw the party. And what if no one shows?

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