Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Running choices

A running friend made a comment by email today that was flattering and a very pleasant surprise.  And even if it was just something that any polite person would have said (which some might claim), I still think it was a very nice thing to say.  What did my friend say? After asking if I would be training with Charm City Run this summer and seeing my answer ("no"), my friend said it just wouldn't be the same without me.

That got me thinking?  Am I the same without the Charm City Run training group?  That is an interesting question.  And even beyond the fact that I am not fundraising through distance running this summer, I really am not the same without Charm City Run. It is worth thinking about the choices.

I have found a subset of the old Charm City Run training group with whom I have been running on Saturdays for a while.  Most Saturdays it is a group of four of us--sometimes three and occasionally two.  And last Saturday I ran alone--it is actually a nice thing to do every once in a while.  If we were with the Charm City Run group we would be near (but not necessarily always in) the lead.  I like the fact that the group with whom I run most often now meets at 6 AM rather than 7 AM.  But some weeks it might be nice to be able to choose to run a different pace.  I didn't do that all that often when I ran with Charm City Run for three training seasons, but it was nice to have the option. Instead I have made a choice to focus entirely on making sure that I am challenged to go fast and run hard each week.  Pros and cons to each choice.  But by not signing up for Charm City Run this summer, I have made one particular choice.

As for track workouts, we had an incredible eleven people for our 5:30 workout on a high school track near the Johns Hopkins Hospital this morning.  It is nice as we have a partial view of the buildings in my tattoo.  Again, I have made a choice to train with a group that is forever challenging and in many different ways on different days.  Sometimes it is one other runner.  Sometimes it is the workout.  We are always running really hard.  Once agin, if I ever let up I'll be trailing way behind.  I am flattered that so many people come to run with me.  We are a group that mostly gets down to business and runs our hard workouts.  Again, my experience would be something different if I were to run in the evenings with Charm City Run.  I would not, for example, have every night at home with as much of my family as is home every night.  But if I were to return to running with Charm City Run at some point, I'd have more choices about how hard to run and a wider variety of people to chat with.

There is nothing wrong with the choices I have made for this summer.  They are in contrast to what I have done the past two summers during which I focused on the group as much as on myself.  The group was large.  The group was diverse.

The choices I have made are the right choices for right now.  Still a bit of a group focus, but the group is smaller.  The group is more concentrated. And the group is about focused training to make us all better because we are all seeking to be "near the top" rather than just to finish.  It is more than just finishing.  Even more than just improving. It is about being as close to the top as we can manage. Again, right thing for right now.

But after I finish with Boston next spring and I look ahead to my next year of running, I may rethink what meets my needs. One of the beauties of actually thinking about this is that I can make a conscious (or to use the last entry's term, willful) choice about what is best at a particular point in time.

Leading a conscious life is a great way to lead life.

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