Friday, December 30, 2011

Egg Salad Is Not a Death Sentence

All of you seem to have it figured out. I have no clue. Should I do this? Should I do that? My 2012 race schedule is totally non existent. This is due to my lack of decisiveness, an issue for me since I slid out of my mom’s you-know-what.

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Something occurred in my childhood so repeatedly that it will forever be etched in my mind. And, I’m not talking about coming out of my mom’s you-know-what.

The memory goes like this: I am sitting in a restaurant. I could be 6 years old, 9 years old, 16 years old. I am holding a menu. I am scanning it and starting to panic. So many choices, so little time.

The waitress comes to get drink orders. “Phew,” I think. I’ll order a Coke and buy myself a few more minutes. She comes back with the drinks and I know it is “go” time. I hang back, letting everyone else order. Since there are only four very decisive people in my family, my turn quickly arises. My dad stares me down. It annoys him to no end when I can’t make a decision about what to order. I stall a bit, maybe asking a question to the waitress like, “What is your favorite sandwich?” I start sweating because I feel my dad’s eyes on me and can hear him sighing with complete frustrating and annoyance. I quickly scan the restaurant because it helps if I can see the food in real life. I am grasping at this point. I impulsively blurt out, “I’ll take the egg salad sandwich!,” immediately knowing this was a huge mistake.

My fears are very much confirmed when our orders arrive. Everyone else’s looks better. My mom’s crispy  BLT, my brother’s gooey grilled cheese, my dad’s juicy patty melt. I made the wrong choice! Not only that, but everyone else made better choices. My life will never be the same. Freaking egg salad.

Funny thing is, I still do this as an adult. The other night, in fact, Ken and I were out to dinner and I bet I looked at the menu for 20 minutes. Smothered burrito? Nope, too rich. I’ll be up all night. Greek salad? Sound good, but totally unsatisfying. At the last minute I went with a burger, still questioning my choice. 

Yes, we are talking about menu choices. Yet, my life is one big menu choice. Sometimes I am so afraid of making the wrong choice that I either don’t do anything or, I pick something and fret that I’ve chosen the wrong thing. One of my favorite tactics is to put off making a true decision by doing something else like having a beer. Sometimes I will ask someone else to make the decision, “No, you decide, I’m good with whatever,” but then their choice sucks. Ever do that?

Over the years I’ve tried to tell myself, there are no wrong decisions. I don’t really believe this, but it sure does make me feel better.

When we choose something, we are doing our best based on the information we have in front of us. No choice is ever a death sentence. If it doesn’t work, it can usually be undone. But, it is important to give it a chance to work.

I usually don't plan a year of races in advance – I just decide stuff as it comes. Last year Boston and the 70.3 were my biggies and I did register for them way ahead, because well, duh, you have to. This year, I’m just not sure. I’m toying with the idea of entering the lottery for the NYC Marathon. It opens on January 2.

Do you have a tough time making decisions, even about what to order or what movie to see?

Do you plan your whole race year in advance?

Ever run NYC? Is it worth all the fuss?

SUAR

43 comments:

  1. Oh lordy do I have this issue! I am the queen of not being allowed to make executive decisions. There's a very good reason relatives and boyfriends all take me to buffets to eat. lol. In all seriousness though, I think it just goes to show how open minded you can be and adventurous. You have too much you're attracted to and capable of which is never a bad thing.

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  2. I'm a total waffler. I frustrate the hell out of people because I can never make a choice. Or, if there's a group, I'm the one who has no opinion. I just don't like to be the one who has to make the decision. Far more "tell me what/where/when" and I'll be there.

    I'd love to plan a year of races in advance, but money doesn't allow for it. Same with having a kid. We can only ask the same people to watch him so often.

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  3. Oh man, if only the decision of a kid could be undone... I'd totally visit one on weekends or at least once a month. I've decided to hold off for now.

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  4. I am trying to plan my 2012 races now, mainly to sign up early and save $$. I too get all indecisive at a new restraunt , it makes me want to always go to the same ones and get the same thing every time. I am far more decisive with running and races, thank goodness. My friend did NY this year and LOVED it! She said it was totally worth it. You should do it! Of course you should do lots of races in Boulder so theFlatiron Foxes can see you!

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  5. I don't like to plan super far ahead, but I'm debating the Boulder 70.3 and I don't want it to fill up before I decide....so I'm trying to figure it all out now. Ugh, this is too early!

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  6. I was thinking about entering the NYC lottery. I'm curious to read everyone's thoughts on it.

    I am SO indecisive. I change my mind about 10 times at a restaurant and if I order the WRONG thing I am mad the rest of the meal and envying my neighbor's plate. You're totally normal. :) Or I'm abnormal...

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  7. Go for NYC! Never done it but if you're thinking about it, you should go for it (advice given to me by my brilliant husband, and he was right -- I was glad to do that Olympic distance tri). My brilliant husband also helps me order at restaurants. I tell him what I'm trying to decide between and he helps me make a good choice. I think I'll keep him. :)

    I have one race on the agenda, my first half marathon on May 6 (OC Half Marathon). I got aero bars for Christmas so I'm thinking that obligates me to sign up for another tri. No decisions on that yet though. - Angela

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  8. I applied the Stephen Coffey Principle in planning my race for the year: I plan the bigger ones in advance (once a quarter-ish), and avoid racing in Houston after July 4th and before October.

    Then I just sprinkle in the smaller races as they come, of course, with the early bird special in mind.

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  9. I can't decide. Well, sometimes I can. Things that need deciding, I can do it (Example: Stand by the road, deciding if I should jay-walk. Yeah. I'll run across the road! But, "What do you want to eat? Where do you want to go?" Ha! I have no freaking clue! It doesn't matter where or what.)

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  10. I have spent my restaurant life waiting until everyone else at the table has ordered because A. I cannot decide and B. I don't want to get the same thing as someone else. When we were in Europe my Hubby was replaced with a changeling who orders for me in restaurants. It is blissful relief, and he's willing to trade if his looks better.

    I just sign up early out of cheapness. Hoping that plan doesn't backfire, but I'm just so excited to be doing this that I have races planned through December 2012. *gulp*

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  11. I get nervous setting up a schedule for the whole year in advance. What if you get hurt? What if one of the kids gets sick? What if you decide you'd rather go to Paris and that opportunity comes up? I can 'what if' it to pieces.

    I'm not much of a waffler when it comes to making the decisions... but after... that's when I get all iffy :P

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  12. I LOVE this post! I can't even tell you how many times that has happened to me. Luckily I'm incredibly decisive about everything-EXCEPT food!

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  13. I could have written this blog post. I'm so glad I'm not alone!! I drive my husband bonkers when we are out to eat and our home is largely undecorated because of my inability to make a decision and committ. As it relates to running, I usually just pick a couple races and try to follow a loose schedule. This year I'm planning a 50 in April and for the 1st time in a long, long time am following an acutal training plan. As it relates to NYC, never run, heard its great but not a PR course...too crowded. Depending on your goals for the race, may or may not be worth it.

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  14. I crap you not, I had egg salad for dinner tonight. Anyways, I don't plan out my race schedule a year at a time either. I feel like I'm behind of something based on other bloggers 2012 goals are all over the place. My "A" race is in a week and I haven't thought about anything past that yet!

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  15. for whatever my opinion is worth :)

    NO - egg salad is not worth it

    YES - I am a planner because I like to have a plan, but i am ok to change the plan when needed/wanted to

    YES - NYC is worth the fuss. Pretty awesome and incredible. They should teach RnR how to handle a huge race.

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  16. I think we would annoy the waitress to no end if we ever went to eat somewhere together! I do the same thing and it drives my husband nuts!! He can look at a menu and know what he wants within seconds...me, it takes forever!
    AND, I know how you feel about the 2012 racing year too. I have some things I'd really like to do, but a little afraid to commit to them..ugh! I need to figure it out soon though!

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  17. I hate making decisions! In fact just tonight I couldn't decide whether to buy some boots and I finally took a pic and emailed it to my hubby so he could helpme. So lame! I am the youngest in my family and I have heard that is a trait of the last born. This is the first year I have planned a race schedule. Nervous but excited!

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  18. Great post! I think we all have issues like this some days. I like to plan ahead - but then I change my plan over and over again!

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  19. I look at menus online before going out and still take forever to decide. I'm happiest when I can split my entree with someone and therefore only risk screwing up half my order!

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  20. I'm on the fence about almost everything. And I'm a people pleaser so I always want to make the *right* choice. Of course stalling for 20 minutes or constantly telling other people to make the decisions is likely not pleasing to them!

    I haven't signed up for any races yet, and am hoping they don't sell out before I know if I'll be ready to do them.

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  21. sign up for the nyc lottery! chances are (unfortunately) you wont get in but its completely worth it if you do!

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  22. No problems with making decisions, but I am going to take this year a little at a time and not register for any races too much ahead of time.

    One thing I don't order is Egg Salad, people don't want to be around me two hours later (the sulfur in the air will curl your hair)

    :-)

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  23. If you run NYC I'll run NYC. I'm still trying to decide if I can afford the vacation days or not. I want to go while I still qualify, before they change it to unholy fast.

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  24. Note to self. Never take Beth to dinner. That waffling over the menu makes me crazy. Read once, appreciating the beauty of the menu, and the descriptions. That takes a couple minutes tops. It then takes less than 30 seconds to decide. How, you ask? Simple. Such is the respect I have for you, that I will solve this great problem in your life.

    Start with the first two items on the entree section. Between those two, and no others, decide which you like best or feel like eating. Quickly now, the clock is ticking. Then compare your choice to #3. Continue comparing each new item with your choice so far. It's a simple a/b choice, and you should be able to do it as fast as reading the menu. Then think about how hungry you are, and if you want the soup/salad/appetizers. Same technique. Done. Order. Give the menu back to the waiter.

    Wait, don't tell me you still move your lips when you read. I don't want to know that. This technique works in all situations where you have to pick one item from a list of choices.

    I'm not a big race planner. Sure, the big ones that you have to sign up for well in advance, I'll plan for those. I know I want to do a race in mid June, which is practically next week, but I haven't signed up yet.

    No, I have not run NYC.

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  25. Okay, two things:
    1. I haven't had egg salad in MONTHS, possibly in over a year. Then it was on special at the cafe I went to this noon, so I ordered it. Fast-forward to when I check my Reader feed, and BAM! Suddenly I'm worried. "Why would egg salad be a death sentence? Did something happen to the eggs?" Then I read more than the title. Exhale. Just a crazy coincidence :-).
    2. If this phenomenon of difficulty in decision-making really interests you, there is an EXCELLENT book on the subject. http://www.amazon.com/Paradox-Choice-Why-More-Less/dp/0060005696/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
    I read it and loved it.

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  26. I was asked just today what my racing plans were for this year and I could only say one race. I haven't yet decided what my plans are for the year - but I don't think this matters. Half the fun is making it up as you go along.

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  27. I am the worst at making decision for myself..for my kids I am good though. For me...THE WORST for everything.

    Races: some of them yes I plan ahead to save money. I signed up for Long Beach and that is in October...I NEED to go back and do it again and erase what happened this year... (ended up in the ER and admitted in cardiac unit not good.)

    happy healthy new year to you and your whole family Beth!

    oh did not run NYC but Bill's best friend did and he says worth it!

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  28. Oh god not egg salad! At least it wasnt tuna salad, right? I always have to be the last one to order because I hate when there are duplicate orders on a table!
    I can't plan too much about races because of work but I do have the NYC lottery set as an alarm on my phone to enter. What the hell. It's not like there are lots of choices, that would be luck. I like good luck.

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  29. Did you see that NYC raised it's entry fee 60 bucks and will now be $255? Egads - I hope your chocolate milk sponsor picks up the tab!

    I, too, do not plan out a full year...because God knows I have paid for many race entries and have not been able to run them. I am doing that Brooks/BRC thingie next year which will help pay for a lot of my races, which is nice cuz you know my situation and know I couldn't pay for them. But what I want to get out of 2012 mostly is to get stronger. I feel horrible right now and not running well because of all the stress and I just want to get healthy and stronger. Make right food choices, strength train my ass off (or at least he fat off the ass :)) and do these sorter races and get stronger. Once I feel I have accomplished that, I may do a fall marathon. But like you said, you have to register early or else you're shut out....so I'm considering Chicago. If you want to go, we can do a girls' weekend :).

    Happy New Year, Beth! Looking forward to FINALLY getting that margarita together!

    xo

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  30. I have such anxiety when ordering at a resturant or ordering a drink at a bar. I usually try to order first otherwise I keep changing my mind when I hear what others have ordered. But I'd probably never order an egg salad, I only like it when I make it.

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  31. So your dad's a "shut up and order!" kinda guy? You two must be related! ;)

    I'm planning to race. For me, that's a good enough decision to start the new year with.

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  32. I'm good at making bad decisions early on, so maybe indecisiveness is the best way to go after all.

    When it comes to planning races, I should probably not plan too far in advance because I seem to attract injuries like it's my job. But I have decided on two for sure... in hopes that I'll be really careful about training properly and avoiding stupid body issues.

    So for someone injury prone like me, maybe just planning races as they come would be the most beneficial.

    Run NYC? In my dreams!

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  33. I have never planned my entire year of races. I usually plan one marathon then get hurt.. UGH!!!! I've never run NYC but I lived there for a couple of years and I can imagine it would be amazing!

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  34. I haven't had a big problem making choices in a restaurant since I turned vegetarian, although 30 years ago that meant I had to eat a lot of omelettes and veggie lasagne. But I still don't make a choice until someone is standing in front of me with a pencil and pad of paper to note it down. Every runner must do NYC, the best big city M I have done, and must also do London (the worst, but you mustn't take it from me). Now, I am off to plan my year's races - thanks for inspiring me to do so. Committing myself to races is the only way I get any running done: it makes me decisive!

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  35. Oh god egg salad?! At least it wasn't tuna salad right? I can never make up my mind, I hate it when there are duplicate orders at the table so I always have to go last. Very stressful.
    Because of my work I never can plan many races far in advance. But I do have my alarm set on my phone for the NYC lottery. Because that wouldn't be having to make a descion, it would be more luck. I like good luck,

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  36. Absolutely NYC - great crowds, management and overall excitement. Come to NY - we can all at least see you run by!
    I always waffle on the menu until the words come out of my mouth. But if I like my last minute choice than I immediately plan to go back and try another item on the menu.

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  37. I'm learning to let go of the small stuff. Like you menu example, even if I can't decide and I order the same thing that I've had the past 20 times, it's not going to make or break anything. Deadly food poisoning aside, what I order will not change my life for better or worse and I won't even be thinking about it 12 hours from now. I don't need to stress myself out over something so small. I have so many other decisions to make that do affect my life - I need to focus on them.

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  38. Wow, you nailed me to the T with being indecisive. My hubby doesn't read blogs, but I am forwarding him this link so he knows I am not the only person who does this. Thanks and Happy New Year!

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  39. I haven't ordered my own meal in, oh, probably 6 years.

    Vanessa orders, I get half, everybody is happy.

    Easy, peezy, lemon squeezee. :-)

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  40. With my wife, I like to see if she can at least narrow it down to one of two things. Since we "more or less" have similar likes and dislikes, I'll usually just order both of them and each whichever one she ends up NOT wanting.

    Doesn't work all the time, but it has worked out many times in the past !

    If you can afford the trip, I would definitely see about entering the lottery for NYC. From everything I've heard and read, it is quite the experience.

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  41. I too am the worlds worst decision maker!!! I'm 27(28 in 3weeks) and I still can't decide what to eat at restaurants, always second guess any answer I have and seek my parents opinions and thoughts. I could never have my race schedule for this yr already. I usually decide about 2months b4 a race (enough time to train) if I'm going to run it. I was sooo the kid you were in that restaurant. :)

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  42. Did you register for the lottery? C'mon do it and make a damn decision. I'm going there now.

    While your at it register for IMAZ damn it.

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  43. I've been nursing an injury for the past year and a half and though it's getting better now (thanks to my amazing new physiotherapist), I feel like I can't commit to anything now. I also feel like everyone else orders better food than I do...

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