Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Am I a Fanatic?

Yesterday, I wrote about crossing the line between passion and fanaticism. In short, I decided that anything that takes you from relationship might be a sign of fanaticism. If you think more about doing your "thing" than you do being with people, then you might be in danger of crossing the line. 

It's easy enough to do. An interest can quickly become a habit. A habit can easily turn into a passion, and a passion into an obsession. When the obsession consumes us, we become a fanatic. There has to be a balance.

Funny how God often gives me a test at some point either before, during, or after I've written something. 

Allow me to enlighten you with a little story of my fanatical discovery.

Sunday (the day before my previous blog posted), was unseasonably warm--more like spring. If you read my Monday blog (and were paying attention), you may remember that I said I'd only had two runs that week. I like to try to get in at least three, preferable four or five.

I admit, I'm just a tad obsessed with this running app which is training me for a 10K. Mind you, I have no intention of actually running a 10K--I just want to complete the training so that when I run a 5K in the spring, I'll have more endurance.

I was up to Day 3 of 3 in Week 11 of 14: Three runs at 17 minutes each, with one minute in between for recovery.

Lately, I've had to do my running on the hamster wheel treadmill at the gym, but because of the beautiful weather, I decided to run outside, despite the quickly (but not quick enough for me) melting two feet of snow on the ground. And I'd take Lucy with me. She'd like that. But where could I run with a dog? 

After ruling out all of the places I usually go (too much traffic, busy road, narrow sidewalks), I opted for the local park, which has a pond and a track, similar to a high school track. 

Deceptively quiet the next day

Boring, but Lucy would like it. I'd have to go around like 50 times to make my goal, but at least it's flat.

Big mistake.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the problem. Everyone had the same idea. The track was packed with people walking their dogs, or just out for a stroll. Lucy is an excitable dog who loves everybody. As soon as she sees a person or a dog, she pulls. Did I mention that she's a golden retriever, weighing in at close to 60 pounds? When she pulls, I end up letting go of the leash half the time because I can't hold her. 

Notice--no leash. Out in the woods, when there's no one around, she's in her element.

I got out of the car, put my earbuds in, chose my music, set my other app which would map my run, and decided that I'd forgo the 10K thing. That definitely wasn't going to work today (see, I'm not obsessed). 

We started down the path to the track, and the first person/dog we came to, off she went. Down went the leash, and out flew my earbud, taking my phone with it, landing in the snowbank. Worse, the dog Lucy went to say hello to was afraid, and the woman holding the dog was trying to get away. Lucy is gentle, but other people don't necessarily know that.

Don't worry, I handled it like a non-fanatical pro. Picking up my phone (before retrieving my wandering dog), I yelled into the snowbank, "This was a mistake! A big mistake!" and huffed and puffed while I tried to get control of myself and my dog, all the while knowing how foolish I looked and sounded.

Scared Dog's Owner said (trying to help), "You know, the road goes all the way to the municipal complex."

I know full well where that road goes-I've walked it several times. But I didn't want to walk the road, I wanted to run the track! After all, I had to get my run in! It had been four days!

Oh dear, I suddenly thought. I'm turning into a fanatic!!!

I looked at Lucy, who looked back at me with oblivious doggy eyes, wildly dancing with excitement. She was just being her normal, overzealous Lucy. Oh, and I was being the same---overzealous Mary. "Come on, let's go," I said, and off we went to walk the road--which turned out to be an off-leash opportunity in places, and in fact, a better choice for an excitable dog.

But I'm not finished. Stay with me just a little longer. I didn't get over it that easy. I did not say "Come on, let's go," in a demure, resigned fashion. Oh no, I put on my frown face and pulled the leash hard. I finally cooled off while I warmed up and then took off running.

We ended up having to run up and down the road a few times to get my required mileage in (which I didn't, by the way--I clocked about a mile and a half). When off-leash, Lucy dropped back behind me. She's not used to running at a steady pace. She smiled, tongue hanging out the side. I think she was trying to have fun, but it felt a little like work. When we passed the car (back on-leash), she pulled toward it. She'd had quite enough of this, thank you very much.

So I pondered: Should I leave her in the car and run four times around the track by myself, getting in an extra mile? 

Or maybe you should just go home, you fanatic.

Opening the car door, I got Lucy's bowl and emptied some water from my bottle into it. She gulped it down, leaped into the back seat and plopped down. She looked at me, her eyes not so wildly excited now, but more subdued and tired, as if to say, "Are we going home?"

I closed the door, went around to my side, and slid into the driver's seat. There's no need to get crazy over this running thing, I said to myself. Lucy, head hunkered down, blinked in silent agreement.

Blessings Along the Path,

Sharing this blog with some of these lovelies


  1. Mary,

    What a cute photo of you and Lucy...I bet Lucy was happy :-) And good for you for running and training, I always admire people who train and run :-)

    1. Thanks, Dolly. Lucy was TOO happy--which is why we chose the road less traveled.

  2. What lovely photos and beautiful insights.
    Thank you for sharing! Visiting from Coffee for Your Heart...

  3. OK, I so do NOT share this running thing with you! That being said, I'm really sort of envious of your dedication to fitness. (Obsession? Maybe just a bit...?) But I certainly can relate to trying to get a good walk/run in with an overly excitable dog! When I babysit my grandbeagle, Marty, our walks are anything but. Picture Nanook of the North with his trusty mush-sled dog, pulling and pulling. I'm lucky if I can keep up. Thankfully, Marty and I use a retractable leash, or I'm sure he would have yanked my arm out of the socket by now!

    However, I am a bit obsessed by some things I collect. So I get the mindset. Passion is good, but obsession can easily grow out of that.

    Seems to me that God is in the middle - the balance between extremes in life. For if obsession is dangerous (it is), so is apathy and complacency.

    Might He teach us how to run our race with our focus on HIM at the finish line!


    (That photo of you and Lucy - too, too cute!!)

    1. Grandbeagle. That's so funny. I have two granddogs, but I never thought to call them by their breed...the one is a mutt, so he'd have to be called a grandmutter...haha! I always love your comments, Sharon!

  4. First I love golden retrievers-my son has one named Parker! Second, I can see how an obsession can turn you into a fanatic. I'm glad you didn't go crazy trying to get your full run in yesterday. ;) Thank you for the reminders today.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I actually took Lucy on a long walk yesterday, and skipped today...just to be sure!

  5. I so understand this and you are so right that we need to find the balance. In fact that goes for most all of life! Too often we swing between two extremes when I think God calls us to a balanced life.

    1. It's easy to do, Sharon, isn't it? The swinging back and forth, I mean. The balance isn't always easy. thanks for visiting.