Thursday, August 15, 2013

An Exhilarating 10K on a Cool Morning and Life Lessons

As I look at my blog entries since my mental recovery after the Boston marathon, I note that there have been only a few that talk much about running.  Kind of ironic since that is where my blogging all began--with running.  With a focus on the spirituality of running.

Well, this morning was a beautiful weather morning.  I had missed running yesterday morning with some equally beautiful weather--and this was something not to miss two days in a row.  I had a Skype call at 5 AM my time (7 PM for my colleague in Australia), walked the dog at 6, and had a tight schedule to be back home by 7.  

50 minutes and I wanted to run a 10K.  Very doable for me (and yes, for that I am still blessed at age 43 to be able to do that).

I started with an 8:00.  Not a bad warmup mile (for me). I then ran, 7:29, 7:21, 6:59, 6:51, and 6:40 without losing speed for the last 0.2 miles.  The terrain in Cedarcroft, Rodgers Forge, Stoneleigh, Anneslie, Idlewilde, and Lake Walker varies quite a bit.  So, some of those were up and some of those were down, but each became progressively more intense.  And by engaging in greater intensity as I went along, I just felt so alive.  So empowered.  And so much able to follow where my legs took me as a function of my own choice.

What is interesting is thinking about how running relates to the rest of my life.  There are multiple phases.  Undergrad.  Grad school.  Early career as faculty.  Later career as faculty.  And now, at age 43, high level administration already.  

As I have entered each new phase, the intensity has increased.  Along with this Sherry and I went from dating as undergrads, to marriage in and a kid at the end of grad school, to parenting during early career, to even more intense parenting (with three kids with tons of activities) in later career as faculty, to now managing two school choices (one high school and one college) and a rambunctious third grader to be during the first year of a new job.  So, the intensity of a variety of issues in home life also increased  

Put all this together and what do you have?  Either a recipe for disaster as the intensity gets out of control and the risk of injury (or disaster in relationships at home) increases.  Or an amazing combination of events that offer challenge.  Challenge for concentration. Challenge for self-control.  Challenge to maintain the drive.  Challenge to stick with things.  Challenge to live up to commitments.  Just as I challenge myself when I run at an increasing pace over six miles, I continue to challenge myself (and those around me) by increasing the intensity in life outside of running at every step along the way.  

What I have to remember is that there are long slow days, recovery days, and days off in running.  That is a lesson I should bring into my life outside running as well. 

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