Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Message from a Bird

Yesterday, when I was waiting for Joshua to be done his day of volunteering at the zoo, I was sitting in my car reading a news magazine and I had what I thought of as an odd experience.  A small bird looking very bewildered flew in through my car window and landed on the dashboard up against the windshield.  I was at least as surprised as the bird was.  I opened all the windows and stepped out of the car.  The bird managed to get across the dashboard and out the front passenger window.

When I posted this on social media, one aunt pointed out that it is a gift to be visited by another member of God's creation.  And one of my dear long distance running friends (she runs ultra-marathons while I stick with nothing longer than a marathon) and fellow blogger said it was a sign or message.  I had to ponder what that message would be.

I think after today's 5K race, I have an idea of what the message might be.  The day was a picture perfect morning for a 5K at 7:30 AM.  Although as I and several people I spoke with afterward noted, for runners who arrived early to register on the day of the race, arrival at sunrise when it was still cool could easily mask the fact that on Key Highway with the sun shining down, even if the air temperature is only in the 60's, it is hot to run.  

The race, I ran in an official time of just under 20:55.  Not bad for a 45 year old, by all means.  But it was one of my slowest in a long, long time.  In fact, last year after having the GI week from hell before Father's Day and running longer than I should have when looking for a good time on the day before the race, I ran about the same time on a much hillier course.  So, something is up with me.  In fact, one of my running buddies said he had never seen look so miserable during a run before.  

So, how does this story relate back to the message from the bird?  The bird did not just sit on the dashboard helpless.  He found a way to get himself going again.  He found a way to set himself right again.  And he flew on.

So, after nine years of running off and on and 5 years of running almost constantly and four years of almost always improving times, I am at a spot at which it is clear that I have to choose carefully how much to run.  Life is ever more full of other things.  

I have to choose carefully what workouts to do.  I have been mostly accompanying friends at paces and distances of their choosing while being along for the ride rather than having a plan for myself.

Have I enjoyed that type of running--making it up as I go and just being there as a presence for others?  You bet.  But it doesn't help me race.  And if I want racing for my own times to be part of my continued running experience, then I need to be like the bird.  Get myself going again.  Right myself.  And focus on running ahead.

The biggest question is what role I want racing to play.  I have been quite happy with accompanying others.  I have told one person that the Marine Corps Marathon is still on my bucket list and if she would like to try a second time, I'd be interested in running with her.  I've told another runner that if she just wants company for a race, I'd be happy to do that at least once.  I have a "running debt" to pay forward from someone who helped me to achieve a wonderful time last year.  And I just love helping others achieve anyway.  

Those are fine reasons to run.  But it is not like saying, "I'm going back to Boston because I can and I'm hoping to run harder this time."  That would be my own goal.  And for that, I really would need to follow what the little bird did.

We shall see.

There are lessons in life to be learned at every turn.  A little hiccup in life didn't stop the bird.  One bad race and a couple of less than perfect weeks of training should not stop me.   

As I recently saw Michael Jordan pointing out in a video--he missed lots of shots.  He even missed chances to win games.  But that was on the way to making lots of spectacular shots and game winning ones.  Less than perfect races happen once I run enough races.  Now, it's time to see what I can do if I keep on pushing even though I know every one can't possibly be my best.  I told a friend how great it was that she could do that. Now, I have to prove that I can do it myself.  

No comments:

Post a Comment