Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Modified Running Goals

The 5K I'm running in happens soon -- Sunday. I depart tomorrow for one final summer trip before the academic year starts. No, it is not that I am so devoted to running that I travel far and wide to race. It is that this trip back to a place where I once lived is what inspired signing up for this 5K I used to run every year, which in turn inspired my coming back to running now.

All of this is a convoluted way of explaining why I am not really ready for the 5K. I won't be able to run the whole thing. I took a good hard look at various training schedules, and concluded (somewhat to my relief at this stage) that 8 weeks is just not enough for anyone to progress from no-running to being able to run 3.1 miles. You really need about 12 weeks for that, at least.

So, I've modified my goals. I'm not aspiring to run the whole thing: I can only do about a mile and a half in one go at the moment. So I'll do a run-walk. My goal is to push myself just hard enough to feel a personal sense of accomplishment.

This trip is a return to where I lived when I was in graduate school. The run in fact goes through my old neighborhood, past the house where I used to live! It overlaps with my old regular running route from those days -- back when I did feel fit and strong. So another goal is not to feel demoralized by my loss of fitness. No, wait, that is too negative! Let me rephrase: this goal is to celebrate the return to my runner identity! I am going back to the exact place where that identity finally took root. That was when I got serious. That was when I started running 5Ks. I was never competitive towards others, but within myself in those days, I made steady progress. So this trip is a very physical attempt to re-integrate this part of myself back into my current identity.

It's kind of fun to dash off like this for a quick trip just before the new academic year begins. In the past, I've been too anxious to do a thing like that. This year I'm feeling more adventurous. But also, this trip fits in symbolically with my life in many ways: as I make a new start in my academic life after tenure and after sabbatical, it seems fitting somehow to make a trip that helps me to connect back directly with my graduate school days. Somehow I sense that this will help empower me to keep to the changes I want to institute in my life: not only the return to running but also my resolve to keep my life focused more clearly around what I know I am feeling called to do.

So, wish me well! And I'll report back upon my return!


  1. good luck with the run and good luck with the changes too! and thanks for your nice comments as well! by the way, what type of wooden flute do you play?

  2. Thank you! The run went well.

    I play a Rottenburgh style baroque flute made by Peter Noy, and a Rudall & Rose style 19th century flute ("Irish flute") made by Terry McGee. They are the top two instruments (in reverse order) in the picture here: My Instruments.