Friday, May 23, 2014

In Pursuit of Excellence

The last time I wrote was after my easy 4 miles on Wednesday.  Today, is Friday.  It is unusual to have a Friday to rest but I do.  I will have one last run tomorrow before the 5K race on Sunday for which I have been training diligently.  The person who helped me develop a training plan says I've done all the right things to achieve my goal.  Now the key is to remind myself of that goal and to visualize.  So what is the goal: 18:59 or better.  Other than the GBMC 5K last year that was short by everyone's GPS watch and for which I didn't feel like I had run a sub-19), I have not run a 5K at a sub-19 pace since I was a teenager.  In fact, probably since 1986.  Ronald Reagan was president.  I had not graduated from high school.  I was probably watching the Cosby Show, Cheers, Night Court, and Family Ties.  It's been a long time.

Yesterday, I ran 3x2x200. Short workout.  Intended for the track.  But there was lightning when it was time to go.  I do track workouts alone.  I do track workouts in the rain.  I've even been known to do one or two alone and in the rain.  But I don't do them alone and in the rain when there is thunder and lightning.  So, I did it on the treadmill.  It is not often that I set the treadmill for 10.8 MPH, 11.3 MPH, and 11.8 MPH--even for 1/8 of a mile.  And I don't expect to hit those paces during the race except for the very end.  If I can run my 6:06 first mile (a little net down) and come through with a 6:06 second mile (pretty flat), then run a 3-ish 800 M, all I will have left is 0.6 miles.  And at that point, anything goes.  And when I have 0.1 miles left, I will dig deep and give the race everything I have.  If all goes well, I'll be able to find it in me to kick like I was running at the end yesterday and set a new grown up PR--and hit my sub-19.

That is my pursuit of running excellence.  My run yesterday put me up to 828.4 miles which puts me coming off the Madison County Transit Nature Trail in Granite City, IL, getting ready to run counterclockwise around the Horseshoe Lake.  The Catholic church in this city is called Holy Family, and that is neat because I want to talk about a few things having to do with family today.

Wednesday we had the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School's commencement ceremony.  I read all the names.  We finished in record time.  It was a great event.  It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the pursuit of excellence with family.  It was also reflective of pursuit of excellence within the "family" of Carey employees.  We made that ceremony come off as seamlessly as possible and the teamwork aspect was great. 

Wednesday evening, I went to the last 3rd grade parent-teacher evening I will ever attend at the Waldorf School of Baltimore.  We talked about 3d grade highlights and a bit of a 4th grade preview.  And we painted wet on wet.  My appreciation for art has increased since I got my tattoo. My appreciation for the hard work to produce good art has increased even more since I got my tattoo.  When I get my picture, I will have to show it.  (It is not cery good)   Wet on wet painting is one thing that requires patience and control to pursue excellence.  Done often enough one learns how to work with the flowing colors rather than be frustrated by it.  It is kind of like running.  Painful/difficult at first, perhaps.  But after doing it enough times it becomes second nature.  One learns how to work with one's body and the random things that occur around it in the pursuit of excellence for running.  The experience made me slow down and breathe deep, so that was also very relaxing at the end of a long day.

We talked about geography as a unit in fourth grade.  The teacher mentioned that some adults don't have much of a sense of direction.  One of the joys of running alone or designing courses to run with one or two friends has been an incredibly more developed sense of direction about the roads on the runs that I do.  I would not call it a pursuit of excellence for me, but it is definitely part of my development of excellence. And for the kids, it may clearly be a pursuit.

Finally, in terms of family and pursuit of excellence, I attended the Baltimore School for the Arts senior honors recital last night.  Seven young adults getting ready to move on to study music in college who were able to develop a 15 minute repertoire of music to perform in two parts.  Amazing.  Pursuit of excellence celebrated with family and facilitated by family.  It will be fun to see where these kids (including my oldest son and his girlfriend of three years) go.  

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