Once again it is time to leave behind the comments on training and observations of running quirks and delve into the homegrown folksy wisdom of SaulBee on running. Yes I am about to draw tenuous connections between running and lives in the real world, mainly because my IRL job has changed and difficult choices must be faced. Perhaps I am writing this to focus my thoughts, perhaps to ask advice but, probably because I have much more limited time and have run out of ideas. Who knows or even dares to care? I have a blog to write and a subject on my mind and on top of all that it might give you a welcome distraction from election fallout fever.
It seems to me that there are 2 ways we live our lives. One way is by drifting. Without making any real concerted effort we kind of move in a general direction until we are taking on a particular role or performing a particular duty. Sometimes because we have been pursuing one of the incidental benefits, sometimes because we are just lazy and it is the path of least resistance. The other way that we end up somewhere is through a conscious choice, we make a decision and we work to get there. We tenaciously pursue a goal until it is achieved and then move on to the next one. Most of our lives are built up of a subtle interplay of the two, some goals leading us to drift into particular roles and some roles lead us to make conscious decisions. Occasionally the two collide and we have to make a choice. We drift to a point where what we consciously decided to do may not be possible any more, or our conscious decisions mean that we cannot allow ourselves to drift, however easy that may be.
I am at a point now where I have drifted into a role at work that puts me on collision course with goals I have consciously decided to pursue. The money is better, the responsibility is something I am happy to accept and, probably for the first time ever I feel like I am in a role which I am actually suited to and capable of. The problem is it leaves me very little time. Of course as is obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in my internet presence for me it is all about the running and the writing, both of which take time. The problem I have is not so much with the running, I quit my last job so that I could find the time to train and that has not changed. What has changed is that I used to have quiet periods during the day when I could get out the ole tablet and do some writing. For the last 2 weeks this has been almost impossible and I am really beginning to feel it. I have for example one short story that needs it’s final look over and edit, another half written and about half a dozen ideas in my notebook to work on. At the moment I barely have enough time to get a weekly blog written never mind the short stories.
So what has me whinging about the opportunities I have been given got to do with running? Well it reminded me of a difficult choice I made halfway through last year concerning my running. At the time I had been running at least one marathon a month but had not been making much progress on my pace. My dilemma was between working to achieve what I thought I was capable of or drifting along running marathon after marathon. I knew I could achieve a sub 4 if I worked, but in order to do the work I would not be able to run endless marathons. I had to decide between being a ‘serious’ runner and a recreational runner. I chose to get a bit serious and focus on training to get my time down. It worked, I got my sub 4 and I know I can get even quicker. I stopped drifting along with my running and this meant I did not spend as much time running with friends but that was OK. I still see them and, over the summer I spent a lot more time with them as I was not training properly. We still get out together on the occasional LSR but I am the one who makes them drift in my direction.
That then is the connection, I can carry on drifting, it will be easy and I will even be regarded as a success by some or, I can look to achieve other goals I have in the past consciously pursued. That will not be so easy and a fair few people will not understand why I have done it but what made me stop drifting in my running was the feeling that I could do better if I took it all more seriously. I feared waking up somewhere down the line having run a hundred marathons and felt that none of them truly reflected what I was capable of, even though I had had a really good time getting there. I took a risk and gave myself the chance to fail, and I will be doing so again. If I continue to drift will I wake up in 10 years time full of regret and what if’s or, am I going to take the leap and risk failure in a bigger and less directly running related way?
Answers on a postcard please ( or perhaps just a comment )