One of the reasons I like running distances is that it gives me time to think. When I blogged regularly it was my long runs that gave me the space to think and plan. Over the last 18 months though not only have I not had the time and energy to write in the same way but I have also gotten out of practice. My running head space has been consumed with work. Once upon a time I would come back from a run and my head would be full of one line ideas and opening sentences. I would meticulously note them down ready for later use. The more I collected the more the ideas would come, feeding off each other until my brain was boiling, a bubbling broth heated by my imagination. Just at the moment the spark and inspiration has gone but I have hope that it will change.
It’s time for a bit of a reboot which is why part of me is looking forward to the challenge of 10 marathons in 10 days. It will be a defining moment with plenty of time for me to think and plan. Every now and again we need to do something big by which we can measure and gauge our lives. We mark the passage of time and our experiences by such moments. In our personal narrative we place events marking them off as, before I went to India, before I became a Dad, before I ran my first half, before my first marathon before I got this bloody job and so on. This summer will mark another of those moments. Whatever happens there will be a before the 10 in 10 and an after.
Sometimes we have no control over those big moments, we are swept up drifting through life to a point where we look back and say, after that everything changed and, I didn’t even see it happening. No conscious choice was made. My current job is like that. Somehow it took over my life without me even thinking about it and then I looked back and realised that so much had slipped away. On other occasions we make the choice to do something and lay down a marker. I was told by somebody who really ought to know me better that I didn’t have to do this, that I could quit but, that misunderstands what this 10 in 10 represents. It is a line in the sand which separates one part of my life from another because whatever happens it will change me. It can change me for the better or for the worse and I will do everything in my power to make it a change for the better. I want it to be the mark where I achieved something that is barely imaginable. Something so big that expressing it is a struggle. If I succeed that makes me the man who can, and if I fail….. well there better be a damn good reason for it, just being a bit tired or finding it a bit of a struggle will not cut the mustard.
People who know me a little better have said… If you don’t make it don’t bother coming back. Now I know they don’t mean this but the sentiment shows that they understand where I am. Although this has all the hallmarks of somebody making a choice in some ways it is an inevitability. Once I had signed up there was no backing out. I was committed regardless of the outcome. The only question would be how it would fit into my life narrative. Would it be the marker which upped my ability to see through challenges in life or, would it be that part of my story which took me over the edge. Part of me is driven to push myself further just to see what it is possible and, so far I have not found the limit… yet. The prospect of failure is not an idea that I have entertained an idea that is too dangerous for me to entertain yet it still lurks there in the background like a bitter lonely lurking thing ready to pounce and leave it’s own mark on my life.
So my little jollop of wisdom for you all? Nothing really, nothing I have not already said. If you want to find out what you are capable of then you need to test yourself in all kinds of ways. When you overcome tests that appear to be monumental measure your life by them. The passage of your days should be peppered with moments of pride where you said to yourself I can’t bloody believe I did that. They should not pass quietly and safely tucked away waiting for the end to come, because the prospect of finding just exactly where your limits are is too damn scary!