Monday, November 29, 2010

Working it out

First things:  On Thanksgiving, I went out for a short 2 mile run.  It was pretty cold, but it was good to be out and running for the sheer hell of it.  Today, I went out for my usual long run, and did 6.2 miles for my participation in the Black Knight's virtual race.  I enjoyed it, and put the finishing touches to some of the new goals I have been thinking about.
As I mentioned previously, things have been really stressful, and to dissipate some of that stress, I started doing a jigsaw puzzle I had lying around for ages.  It is The Beatles White Album cover.
The process is very therapeutic and gives one the chance to think about things.  I thought quite a bit about my running this year.  Although I tackled 2 new events (half marathon and marathon), it seemed as though my running had regressed in other aspects.  My 5K pb of 26:03 run last June seemed a million miles away - let alone the 10K.  No triathlons either - and it seemed that every challenge I started seemed doomed right from the start.  I had signed up to run 1000 miles in 2010, but no sooner had I signed up, when I stopped running and I cannot even remember why anymore.  I have had some moments of joy whilst running, but the enthusiasm and joy I experienced over the last 2 years, has been completely missing this year.  I slogged through my goals, and completed most of them, but in a lacklustre kind of way.  It seemed as though I had lost my running mojo, and I just could not work out where, when or how.  Nor could I work out how to get it back.

Choices, choices: Perhaps part of all this hearks back to the question I was faced on the day I missed my Hyannis marathon way back in February:  did I want to follow the path of biotechnology or anthropology?  I skipped the marathon as I had an interview scheduled that day, at a very crimson-coloured university.  It went well - very well, as did the others.  Long story short, I decided to stick with the biotechnology stuff as I did not want to start all over again - then began the doubts which have hounded me this year:  did I make the right choice?  I went back and forth, back and forth, and I am still not that sure, but sometimes when you set your mind to something (forgetting about whether you "like" it or not), the results can surprise you.  And yes, I have discovered that I am not science-phobic after all!

My Aha Moment:  After Philadelphia something clicked, and I think I understand partially how to move forward.  Over the past 2 years  I have covered 5Ks, 10Ks, stair climbs, sprint triathlons, half marathons and a marathon in this time. But what does that mean?  Firstly that I can do it.  Next?  Now that I know I can do it, I can step it up a notch.  This might not seem that important, but initially doing all these things meant ticking them off on my to-do list: one down, on with the next challenge. Since this year has been such a struggle, it has made me question whether I am really a runner.....but I suppose to bastardize Descartes, I run....ergo I am a runner.  If nothing else, this year has taught me sheer dogged persistence!

Next Steps:  Now that I have taken a step back to mull things over, my goals for next year are slightly different.  It is not the race, but rather the preparation it will take that I am setting as my goals.  My first event comes up in February, and I will reveal all in my next post.  My second event comes up a few days after that.  My goal is to follow the programme and train hard.  I like this event, and I know I can do well.  I owe it to myself to improve.  I see next year as a 'building' phase, meaning that I want to build on the base I have acquired over these past 2 and a half years.  Now I want to build up my endurance, stamina and speed - in that order.  The key to all this will be FOCUS.  A buddhist story tells of a general whose mother was killed by a tiger.  One day he thought he saw the tiger and shot an arrow at it.  On nearing the tiger, he saw that his arrow had fully penetrated a rock.  Even though he tried shooting other arrows at the rock, they all bounced off.  The upshot of the story is that when your focus and belief is clear, you cannot miss your goal.
In conclusion, to this rather long post, I think I am slowly starting to work it out..........


  1. Aw, I'm so glad you are starting to find some clarity, girl.


    I'm excited to see your training going forward.

  2. Intanto cominciamo con il dire che sei una vera runner con tanto di laurea e la laurea è la maratona. Chi ha corso una gara di 42,197 km può dire di aver fatto una cosa speciale nella sua vita. Il fatto che quest'anno tu non ti senta come gli anni scorsi è una cosa fisiologica, non ti preoccupare, il nostro sport è fatto di alti e bassi: seguire un training program certamente ti aiuterà.
    ...e adesso vai con i next steps (compreso il mondiale di rugby).
    Infine grazie per aver partecipato alla virtual race.

  3. This all sounds very positive. You have it worked out for sure. You've achieved more this year than you realize. I stay focused by setting multiple goals, short term and long term. It's the long term goals that really keeps me going. All the best with your journey!

  4. @Mary: Thanks, it's taken long enough!

    @Black Knight: Grazie mille per le parole che mi rincuorano! Si, ora posso essere piu' filosofica sulle vicende, ma quest'anno e' stato davvero una sfida....sotto tutti gli aspetti....

    @ Johann: Baie dankie, I am optimistic that putting this into action will be a very good step for me. I am excited about seeing how it will work.....yes, reading your posts are always very stimulating....I especially loved the last race. The idea of 13 up and 13 down is fantastic. I think of all the races you have done this year, this is my fave!

  5. tante scelte da fare, decisioni da prendere.... la corsa non può diventare un ostacolo, dovrebbe essere 'musica', come i beatles.....

  6. First of all that must be a very difficult puzzle with all that white.

    I like it how you thought things over and how you've made new goals. I think they're great. My first goal next year is a bit the same as you might have read: do my first half marathon and do that by following the plan! Endurance comes before speed in my case.

    I look forward to your plans and to following you next year on your journey. Whatever you do: I'll support you.

  7. @Yogi: Hai proprio ragione.....cerchero' di riccordarmelo.

    @Fran: Yes, it is not going so well with the puzzle. There are only 540 pieces, but when everything is white....well you can imagine. Thank you for your kind word, and I hope I can support you in the same way. Endurance is definitely the key.....for me too.....

  8. I think your change in emphasis will have a positve effect on your running - I look forward to reading about your progress

  9. Great post.
    Also you are the bravest person I have ever heard of by trying to do that puzzle.