Endurance is problem solving
|April 14, 2016||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
I feel like endurance belongs on my resume, except instead of “endurance rider” or “distance runner” I would have a code word.
Being successful in endurance sports is about being an effective problem solver.
In a more general sense, if you have a life and you are trying to do something epic on the side – riding, running, writing, whatever – it probably requires a bit of creativity in that department.
Oh sure, priorities are important, but to me, priorities are resolutions or promises to yourself. Problem solving is the nitty gritty of what you do on a daily basis to get the pony time in.
There is much to the sentiment of “just do it” when it comes to accomplishing things. I am in fact sitting in a Safeway parking lot between locations on break during a contract job in which I had FIFTEEN minutes to kill, so I pulled out my computer (YES IT’S BACK AND IT’S LOVELY) and started typing this blog post.
However, “just do it” only gets you so far.
“Just do it” helps me get those dinky 30 min runs during the week by plopping Fig into the stroller and just walking out the door. “Just do it” doesn’t help me figure out how to get a ride in at the stable at least 2x a week, not counting the long ride a couple times a month when I have a 5 month old, a husband that works full time, several jobs myself, and when the priority of “endurance riding” joins such priorities as “stay married”.
For that I need solutions, not more willpower.
In this problem solving game of endurance it’s much more than making time for the sport.
There’s actually doing endurance
Oh boy oh boy then the real fun starts.
I never considered myself a creative “get ‘er done” type person before endurance. But when you are half way through a fifty and your stirrup breaks, It’s amazing what you can do with a shoe lace and some duct tape.
Problem solving is trying a hundred different things in order to find the one right combination of saddle/pad/inserts/wool/synthetic/felt/zipties….at least for now.
It’s about constantly paying attention to feedback and tweaking stuff.
It’s about getting comfortable with failure – and not letting it get in your way.
The pay off is simple to point at – that 100 mile completion, or decade team (oh please oh please oh PLEASE), or that shiny buckle.
The side benefit is how is applies to other things and makes those things better too.
Problem solving requires creativity, close evaluation of current thought patterns, flexibility, and the willingness to throw everything out the window and start all over. A healthy dose of optimism doesn’t hurt either ;).
Now doesn’t THAT sound like something you could put on a resume?
Without thinking too long or too hard I can immediately name 2 things that happened only because I learned to be a problem solver in endurance.
- Veterinary medicine
- Website stuff
Veterinary medicine is immensley practical. Much like endurance it has highs which are very high indeed, and lows that make you feel like you are sh*t on the bottom of someones shoe. It’s not how much you know, it’s how you use that knowledge and find ways of applying it.
Every single thing I’ve coded and every single website I’ve built has been a series of “that doesn’t work…so why and what hack can I google in order to fix it.” Maybe that makes those of you that “do this for realz” wince, but hey – it’s fun and it’s worked OK so far ;). Without endurance I think my patience and humor for THINGS NOT WORKING would have ran out a long time ago.
This whole blog is a documentary of how I’ve problem solved my way out of time crisises, tack issues, and general stupidity so there’s no point in providing a complete list, but some of my favorite or most recent ones are:
- Ziptying my reins to a grab strap to the saddle so that during ride and ties the reins can’t be flipped over the head or stepped on.
- Hiring an exercise rider to ride Farley 30 min 2x a week (this is recent and we haven’t talked about it – but this was my answer to not having the time right now to get the short rides in between Fig, house, running, writing, and the 27 other projects on my list – not kidding about the 27. I actually keep a list….)
- Converting fanny packs to saddle bags.
- Redirecting people from melnewton.com to my overly complicated blog address (who know I would still be doing this SEVEN years later???????)
- Using electrical tape to keep braids in during rides
- Using Kiinde twist bags designed for baby food as containers for squishy saddle bag food
- Adding stirrup covers and caged stirrups so I can ride in anything – even shorts and running shoes.
What do you think is the most important life skill endurance has given you? What are some of your favorite endurance hacks where you problem-solved LIKE A BOSS? ;).
Love this! That cartoon is one of my favorites, my whole family shared it around a couple months ago!
Endurance has made me brave in a way I never thought I’d be. To just “deal with it” in the moment, because it is all you can do. To ride through fear and come out the other side feeling awesome. To have a more subtle and nuanced relationship with my horse than I ever really thought I’d have with a 1000 pound creature.
I love to make stuff and tinker, so I’ve had fun coming up with cheap ways to make rump rugs, helmet visors, saddle covers, ID tags, reins and more (most in signature orange). Oh, and to back up a horse trailer.
Omg the horse trailer! I never would’ve forced myself to learn how to back up a trailer if it wasn’t for endurance.
Same here on the bravery thing. I’m such a cautious and rule following person by nature.
Endurance has pushed me so far outside my comfort zone that I’m not sure I have a comfort zone anymore. I’ve met wonderful people I’d never have known any other way. I’ve cobbled together tack, trucks, trailers, trails, and my own britches in new and fascinating ways, and can now fix all that stuff sometimes. I learned to cook over a camp stove, but I hit new heights last summer when I cooked elk steaks and baked sweet potatoes for a pre-ride dinner. I’ve learned to look at rocks, sticks, baling twine, hoof picks, duct tape, random trash and elbows as “tools.”
Last week at the physical therapy gym, the workout space was crammed to the rafters with Silvertips (our local hockey team, 16-20 year old men with tons of energy and no sense of personal space). Most of the other PT patients clung to the perimeter, but apparently I astonished the crowd by walking through the middle of the swarm without a second thought. Because, when you’ve pulsed a billion horses at a busy finish line or two, you can make your own body bubble and enforce it effortlessly.
Wish there was a way to give this comment a thumbs up 🙂
hell, I even wrote a book about endurance! Who knew that somebody like me could write a book?!?! If you’d asked about it ten years ago, I’d have said that I was more likely to finally collect my Hogwarts letter.
Love this post! I feel like endurance is more than a sport. It’s a way of life. It seeps into everything you do. As for what it has taught me… how about multi-tasking? I’m pretty sure that’s why all my job titles end up so muddled: trainer/barn manager/volunteer coordinator/adoption manager/website editor/file keeper… and now vet tech/accountant/PR person/head of HR/office manager/photographer. AGH!