Thursday, May 1, 2014

Never Lose Sight of a Dream

So this morning’s run was my by now typical 7 mile progression run on Thursday mornings.  I felt it more than last week.  Cruised through miles 1-3.  Then really felt is as my body was asked to run 6:45/6:30/6:15.  Still, after a massage yesterday (where the muscles are worked on, obviously) and shop-vaccing last night and a challenging track workout on Tuesday, I didn’t think it was a bad thing.  In any case, when I went to Giant afterwards, I made it a point to say hello to more employees than I do on many mornings.  Just last night I had discussed the idea of doing that regularly with the woman who cuts my hair.  And so, having mentioned it, I thought it would be important to actually walk the walk and not just talk the talk.  I often say hello anyway, but I don’t always do it when the employee doesn’t say hello.  I took the initiative this morning. 

My 7 miles puts me at 707.6.  26 miles on the week already.  And somewhere on 1850th Ave either just outside or inside Yale, IL.  Interesting names of streets continue.  My virtual pilgrimage continues.  The official town population here is 85.  I’d be adding more than 1% to the population just by passing through. 

So what is the lesson from today?  As I mentioned to the person who helped me develop my training plan, one lesson is that I am, after all, only human.  Not every run is going to come easy.  Not every run is going to be care free.  Some runs are going to be tough.  I added that I am a recreational runner (something she said about herself a week ago).  She commented that when I put it that way it sounds ery deflating.  I answered that I don’t find it deflating at all.  If you told me I was just a “jogger,” I might feel deflated.  But recreational running is not a problem.  It simply means I do it for recreational purposes.  Not that I don’t take it seriously and set some very serious goals.  Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. 

I also thought some this morning about the email that I sent yesterday to a colleague back in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  I saw the announcement for his Dean’s Lecture next week (a tradition for when people get promoted to full professor) and was thrilled to see one of my colleagues talking about teaching.  It is a great thing for people in academia to discuss.  Where I spent the first nearly 17 years of my career it was important but rarely the main focus.  When I was told after my Dean’s Lecture that I was one of the first (perhaps the first) to talk about teaching, I was quite surprised.  So, to see someone else, even if I cannot make the presentation, was quite nice.

Sending the email to him also reminded me of an exchange I had with my mother when I was a teenager.  I recall saying to her, “Why would anyone want to teach?”  That was after she had gone to college to be a teacher.  She had sacrificed by taking a job at a bank when I was first born to help support our family while my dad went to college after getting out of the Air Force.  She sacrificed her career while being a stay at home parent for years when my sister was born when I was 5½.  Then, finally, she got back into it when I was a teen.  But I couldn’t see why it was so great.  Now, it is what drives my career.  My teaching.  Monitoring and helping to improve others; teaching.  I even mentioned it to my colleague in the email I sent and he was pleasantly surprised by the email—especially what I was willing to share.

I saw something today asking how your mother inspires your running.  Well, my mom was never a runner.  But this relates.  Why?  Because she came back to a dream after a long time and made the most of it.  I didn’t make a sacrifice for my dream.  I just spent time pursuing different dreams.  Academic success.  Parenthood.  Professional success.  Maybe my mom would say that helping to support a family and being a stay at home parent was not such a sacrifice either.  The key is coming back to a dream.  I came back to running after 18½ years (almost nothing from May 1987 through January 2006).  When I returned there were fits and starts.  But now, I am making the most of it.  Never lose sight of a dream.  It can change your life if you just have the faith to follow it. 

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