Thursday, January 21, 2010


I'm screwed. No escape. No excuses. Totally screwed.

A couple of years ago I wrote about Commitment Devices, ways in which you can "lock yourself into a course of action that you might not otherwise choose but that produces a desired result." Like losing weight. Or running a marathon. Or sailing on 100 days in a year. One of the obvious "commitment devices" is to publicize your goal, tell all your friends, write it up on your blog even.

Sometimes you can create a commitment device for yourself unintentionally...

My first post of this year was Crazy Run Grandad. It started off with me boasting about running a 5 mile road race in the snow on New Years Day. Then I started rambling on about joining a running club and which of their programs appealed to me: a 5 mile run every Thursday evening in a local town, a grand prix series of races throughout the year, and even an award for running a race in every New England state in the year. I only expressed vague interest in these programs; and, in any case, this blog is only read by fellow sailors (right?) and you don't care about my running, do you?

I sent off my application to the running club the same day and the membership secretary emailed me a few days later to welcome me to the club and to ask if I could supply any biographical details for the club newsletter. I didn't know what details he wanted so I referred him to Crazy Run Grandad which also had a few random comments on my history with running.

Next think I knew he had sent the link to the club webmaster and he had put up a link to Crazy Run Grandad on the home page of the club website. And I can tell from my Sitemeter stats that people (real runners) are actually coming from the running club website to my post that includes those ramblings on my possible running ambitions this year.

So now I'm screwed. I have revealed my innermost thought on my running goals to my fellow running club members (whom I haven't even met yet.) So now I'm just going to have to at least make an attempt towards going some part of the way to sorts kinda achieving maybe some of them. Bloody commitment devices!

The first problem is that evening 5 mile run series. I looked back at the times of runners in previous years and realized that at my current pace I might well be last in that run every week. They'll all be waiting around to record my finish and I'll be keeping them from their beer and pizza. So I really want to improve my pace up to the point where I'll be huffing and puffing around the course with a few other old geezers in the tail-end pack, and not be totally detached several hundred yards behind everyone else. And the series starts in March so I don't have long.

I was thinking about this on Tuesday morning. I had a running workout planned. But first I had to check what all my friends were doing on Facebook, and read the latest posts on a few dozen sailing blogs, and chat to my Mum on the phone... you know, really important stuff. By the time I was ready to go running it had started to rain. Cold rain. Bone-chilling cold rain.

I hate running in the rain. But I had created a commitment device. So I went off to the local track and ran some mile intervals... in the rain. Then I came back and compared my times to the same workout last year and basked in the warm glow of smug satisfaction that I am faster than I was in this month last year.

So yes I am screwed. But it's a good thing... really... I think.


bonnie said...

Something that makes you go out & exercise on those days when you're just sort of unmotivated & it's yucky outside & you'd really just rather curl up on the couch with a good book & a glass of wine? Sounds good. I could've used that last weekend. Sunday was such a waste.

JP said...

Change your name and escape to South America, its the only way out.

Good news is you can sail all the way there. Bad news is not on your Laser.

Tillerman said...

Thanks for the advice JP. There was a story in my family that my grandmother's brother has done just that: sailed off to South America and was never heard of again. If the story is true then it probably happened around 1910. So maybe I have a whole bunch of cousins in South America?

bonnie said...

Wow! Should we all be on the lookout for a blogger called Señor Barra del Timón?

JP said...

Bonnie: no, check out this for clue as to what they've got up to

The O'Sheas said...

When are you gonna put that picture of the Troy Polamalu fan back up? That's the only reason I keep coming back to this blog.

Post a Comment