Monday, June 2, 2014

Parallels in Running and Work Life

Four days since the last time I wrote.  And so much to think about.

Thursday, I did a nice track workout with 8x200, all under 40, increasing speed as I went along.

Friday, I did an easy 4 just to keep the legs loose.

Saturday, I tried once again to prove that all the track work, all the hill work, and my general approach to training would, in fact, lead to a sub-19.  And again, I didn’t make it.  The splits were not horrible.  But I ran a 19:36.  I can say now that I am done that 5000 meters at race pace on the track is not easy alone.  Even early in the morning.  Even on a flat surface.  My legs were tight.  I probably should have taken a day off this week.  And my stomach tightened at about 2/3 of the way through.  I had eaten late the night before and stayed up late. Perhaps I really will never go sub-19 again.  But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  I’ve learned a lot along the way.

So, this morning, I ran an easy 8—average pace just over 8:30.  I’m up to a total of 877 miles for the year.  That puts me on Old Manchester Rd as it swerves off Manchester Rd/Missouri Route 100/US-66.  So, I will be back at US-66 and then on US-50.  The connection with US-50 is interesting as it will take me through about 30 miles of running.  Driving, I’ll be on a much different part of US-50 next week as we go to Ocean City, Maryland, for the final lacrosse tournament of the 2014 spring season.

I share some thoughts about my running issues with someone who has been sharing my running journey.  There are some interesting parallels between my work life and my running life.  In my work life, we have a performance review system in which the supervisor is asked to provide goals, name strengths, list watch outs, and suggest important networks. 

For strengths my boss listed attention to detail, creativity, and connectivity.  I think that these are well reflected in my running as well as my work life.  I love data.  I love to analyze carefully what I have been running and what I need to run.  I try to make every workout just right.  (And I have found that I get something positive out of making every workout just right even if I do not meet my racing goals.  It shows that I am focused on the journey or process just as much as I am on the outcome.)  On the creativity and connectivity side, the connectivity is with people in the case of work.  I have also found ways to connect with people in my running.  And the creativity is finding ways to link running to all sorts of other things and write about the connections and ideas. 

For watch outs, he listed three: pacing for productivity, “getting to win,” and professional image.  The last translates into “maybe your academic writing has gotten you this far but you will need to ‘look good’ to get further—but some more suits.”  OK.  Does that relate at all to running?  Maybe.  I definitely think of myself as looking more like a serious runner in how I dress for my running now than I used to.  Pacing for productivity—faster decision making, more decisive, get things done.  I can relate to that in my running although the pacing for running can be up or down.  The key is getting it right.  Finally, on the “getting to win” point.  I’m not sure I’d call that having a “killer instinct” but there is an element of completion.  There is an element of seeing things through.  There is an element of making certain that things happen.  Mental toughness to see things through.  Again, I can relate it to my running inasmuch as I clearly have to get better at not just doing the workouts and preparation but at making sure that all is done well—including the “final presentation” (or the race).

For networking, there was a focus on networking with leaders in my performance review.  I think that hanging with very good runners is something that I have been doing and continue to do and finding the right runners to help me improve my own running is also key. 

The parallels between my work life and my running life are not entirely surprising.  What you see is what you get. Someone who pays attention a lot.  Someone who tries very hard.  Someone who can work step by step.  But someone who sometimes finds it challenging to bring everything together and produce an excellent and expected final outcome. 

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