Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Accomplishing a goal and the puzzle

When I was in high school I ran cross country and loved it. I loved running through the woods but it helped that I was pretty good at it too. I could easily run in the 18 minute range for the 3 mile course. Stretching out the legs and feeling the rush of running quickly over the rough terrain made me feel like I was flying. I kept running after high school but somewhere along the way I lost the speed that I used to have back then. It became extremely challenging to run a 5K anywhere near 20 minutes let alone 18. I found that I was OK with my slower pace if I ran longer because accomplishing the longer distances gave me a similar sense of satisfaction as did running fast back in my youth. I suppose that means I was only chasing some sort of self-satisfaction and using running to give it to me buy hey, I was young and could have been chasing it with other things right?
Although I was content with running longer distance in place of running fast, I always kept an internal goal of one day breaking 20 minutes in the 5K. I wasn’t planning to train for a 5K but hoped that my marathon training would allow me to accomplish the 5K goal while seeking a marathon goal. Turns out I may have been right for the first time in my life! Hey, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. ☺
At the Edmond turkey trot on Thanksgiving I ran the 5K in 19:42. This is the fastest time I’ve run for a 5K since I was 18.
Since I haven’t been training for a 5K I didn’t anticipate accomplishing this goal so I didn’t have any stress about the race beforehand. The weather was near perfect running weather although a little cold for my tastes. I, of course, screwed up my watch at the starting line and put it in cycling mode instead of running mode so I only had speed and total time to measure my progress during the race. Since I can’t run and do math at the same time, I gave up looking at it. It wasn’t until I turned the final corner and saw the clock that I realized I was going to break 20 minutes. My heart just about came out of my chest! I had struggled most of the race to keep pace and that pace didn’t seem all that fast but here I was about to accomplish a long-time goal!
It’s funny how uneventful accomplishing a goal can be. When I crossed the finish line my insides were cheering and so excited but on the outside I was just another runner. Although I was completely relieved, excited, happy, and a million other positive emotions, my only thought was how weird it is to have accomplished this goal but to have lost the life that I had when I started thinking about it. It didn't make me sad so much as it frustrated me to think that when I put the goal in my head I had people around me who I motivated me to seek this goal but by the time I actually accomplish it those people are gone. It just seemed like the puzzle wasn’t complete even though I had finally got those last difficult middle pieces to fit. I’d finally fit those pieces that you can’t fit together without putting most of the other pieces in place first and when I stepped back to look at the finished picture I realized I’d lost the corners.
On the positive side, I also realized that I didn’t NEED to have someone there in order to feel good about this accomplishment. I enjoyed the success in my own way and within my own skin. The feelings were all positive and I was able to feel the satisfaction on my own. That’s a big step forward from me and I have to wonder if the changes that brought about this new self-awareness aren’t, at their root, the same changes that led to accomplishing the running goal. I also have a large group of new, wonderful, friends who were there and so excited to know I'd done this thing. They truly cared and made the day wonderful.
You can't expect to keep the world the same forever. Things change, we change, hell the universe is constantly expanding at a phenomenal rate! There's no reason we should ever expect to be in the same space for long. But we set out on long journeys anyway. We take the motivation from the space we're in presently and use it to move forward knowing (or at least finding out) that that space might not be the same when we arrive. Sometimes it hurts a little or a lot, but if we thought about it for more than a second, we'd realize that we wouldn't be adventuring if our hearts wanted to be in the same space. The itch that made us seek something distant, or hard, doesn't really want us to end up in the same space we left.
Thanks for listening

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