Saturday, March 24, 2007

Start Where You Are

I'm trying to live more and more by the axiom of 'start where you are.' I guess this comes as a direct result of my earlier post on the "I could totally be great at that" effect. The antidote to that sort of thinking is to start where you are.

Add to that some humility. Because when you start where you are, you're going to realize how far you have to go to get where you're going. But that's okay. Because if where you're going is someplace worth the trip, then the journey itself should be enjoyable.

Okay, so maybe this isn't the most ground-breaking idea to hit the blogosphere in the last year. But for me, it's revolutionary [for now at least, until my mind picks something else revolutionary and decides to put this idea in the trash can recycling bin].

Let me give you an example. Over the past year, I've been running on and off. I hit my peak in about October, when I could easily run for an hour and half [okay, maybe not easily] and had a PR of 36 minutes for my 8k time. Flash forward five months: now I can barely run for more than 30 minutes on a treadmill at a 8 min/mile pace, and god forbid you asked me to run for an hour. Quite the striking difference.

I've been letting that difference get in the way of getting back on the horse. If I used to be that good [which, admittedly, in the running world is pretty mediocre], what's the point of even running now?

The point of running is running. Whether I can only run for a minute or for an hour. So, starting yesterday, I decided I would run every day for the next month for 30 minutes. And by that, I mean I'll set the timer on my watch for 30 minute, and then head to the track. I'll run until I feel like walking. I'll time how long I run for. And then each time, I'll try and run for a longer period of time. When I reach the point of running for 30 minutes straight, I'll up the time by five minutes. When I can run for an hour straight [hopefully at that point I'll be running on the trail], I'll start phasing in interval workouts. And then slowly, minute of running by minute of running, I'll get back to where I was five months ago. And then go beyond it.

It helps to know that XC season is only five months away. It took me five months to drop from my peak. It should take me less time to get to that ridge. Only, of course, to realize that there's so much more up left to go. And when I reach that point, I'll be able to slowly improve my time.

In that sense, running really is a pretty decent metaphor for life [okay, just about everything is a good metaphor for life, but give me some poetic license]. You just have to keep showing up. It doesn't especially matter what you turn out. The individual efforts don't matter [sounds reminiscent of evolution -- individuals don't evolve, species do!]. It's the slow arc over time that does.

That applies to all activities. I just happen to need it the most in running. I look forward to freely running through Chi in two months. Totally relaxed. With free breathing.

I can smell the Marcus Hook air already. ;)


Tallxcrunner said...

That's the way, Dave. Little improvements make all the difference. I think over this summer, I'm going to train myself to run a marathon, because I plan on doing that at some point during my life... and as far as I'm concerned, I'm running out of time because soon I'll probably be too old [and it would be nice to set a new record for myself since I haven't done that since indoor track]. So yeah dude, start training and fuck dose crackers up.

They don't see you. They ain't ready.

Lordebon said...

If you ever feel bad, just think of me. I run about as well as molases ;)

Oh... and you can smell the Hook air already, eh?

You're not that close yet... if you were, you could taste and feel it ;)


The word of the day is opipvw.

Brian said...

Oh yeah, that sounds great. Except for the running part. I still can't believe you got pulled into that. Makes me chuckle a tad. Well, you have fun with that.

Oh yeah, hi Dave.