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Category: Life

Running projects

There’s no indicator of how things will go at the start. We may have done this before, or maybe it’s more, or less complicated than the other times. We can start with lots of confidence or start without any. The path to the end will be different each time. Sometimes getting to the start line is enough for success. Other times it’s the easiest part.

We collect our tools, come up with a plan, then start. Maybe we sprint at the beginning, then settle into a rhythm until the end. Or we may start with a good rhythm, then have to vary our effort to maintain momentum. We draw energy from those around us. Or they suck the energy from us. We never know.

This is what I pondered as I ran my second half marathon of the year, and the third one in my life. I felt a little weak at the start and decided to just run without any expectations or goals. There were over 500 runners on the scenic Westport, MA course. I started near the front and settled into a decent pace. At about the 6 mile mark I started to feel confidence that I’d go the distance. I finished 22nd overall, and 4th in my age group. It was a personal record for a half marathon.

Long runs are a lot like projects. There are so many variables, that we can’t easily predict an outcome at the start. All we can do is monitor and adjust our efforts as the variables change.

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Getting to the starting line is sometimes the biggest challenge

I ran in my second half marathon last Saturday in Newport, Rhode Island. I was 86th in a field of 817 runners. They awarded medals to the top 3 in each age group. I was in 4th place for my age group. But that’s not the focus of this blog post.

The race started at 8:00. I woke up at 4:15, which totally surprised our cats. They felt like failures as I left the bed ahead of them. An hour later I was in my truck for the 1.5 hour drive to the parking lot. The last shuttle to the start was leaving at 7:00. My risk management plan included time to pull off the highway in case my hydrating resulted in the need to … you get the idea. I arrived at the lot at 6:35 and boarded the shuttle. I picked up my packet, stowed my warm clothes in a pack and checked them with the organizers. I walked around, took pictures and posted them on Instagram and Facebook. Eventually they called the racers to the start.

My plan was to finish under 8 minutes per mile (or 1:45 for the whole race) and not walk at all. I didn’t get caught up in racing other people. I raced myself. My training plan and my race plan worked. I finished at 1:42.

The day before the race I was talking to a colleague who runs marathons. He said that the hardest part of race day is getting to the start line. He wasn’t lying. I think this applies to many of our goals in life.

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More controls overcome – drinking and driving workarounds

On my run today I noticed the number of alcohol nip bottles along the roads. Each time I saw one, I would see another a little further along the way. At no point was I able to run without seeing one. This was a 5 mile out and back, for a total of 10 miles.

Drinking and driving is illegal. Having an open alcohol container in the passenger compartment is also illegal. Rather than being economical in consumption of alcohol while driving, these people must be buying several small bottles. When they need their “fix” they knock one down and toss it out of their car window. Their total time blatantly breaking the law – less than 60 seconds.

If they get pulled over by the police between their nips they only have several small bottles still sealed. No law was broken. I thought about this as I ran. As I posted a few weeks ago, most controls are overcome. They force people to be more creative.

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Change is inevitable – suffering through it isn’t

Many people dislike change. They avoid it at all costs. They feel the need to resist the evil of it.

Life is constantly changing. Work is constantly changing. We need to not only embrace change, but be the change. Instead of asking “why?”, ask “why not?”. Seek out opportunities to change how we live and work. Change is good. It’s been happening since the first person left the cave to forage for food. Humans have an amazing capacity to adapt.

Once we accept that nothing stays the same, we are able to live in the moment and feel fulfilled.

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