I've never been a great athlete (far from it), and never will be (in fact, my primary school sport's teacher told my parents she worried I may be "motorically handicapped"!!!), but stubborness, planning, and tactics have always been strenghts of mine.
Discipline and focus on the other hand has been lacking, but since starting serious racing, I've done many changes to my life, such as:
- Never drink more than 3 beverages during any day
- Never take escalators etc. unless injured/hurt/over-trained
- Being in bed before 00:00 the night before any race (preferably earlier)
In that way, Mountain Running serves as a teaching experience for me as well, it relaxes me, gives me a focus to plan towards, makes me more aware of the present moment, and is just overall inspiring...
How to live...
On top of this I track every aspect of my training using an Excel Sheet (I still need to buy many more gadgets to measure all I need to, but one step at a time), I consume every supplement available, read every book on the topic, and have signed up for a ChiRunning Course (more about that in a later post).
Finally, I'm planning on joining either the Crusaders or Rathfarnham Running Clubs.
I'll cover my training programme in a later post, for now, let me tell you more about why I made this site.
Sharing the Dream
My first Mountain Race definitely got me hooked on the sport, but it was Mike Stroud's excellent book: "Survival of the Fittest" that made me realise how much I had let me self waste away in an awful modern lifestyle.
I listened to this grizzled American, a normal guy with self-admitted modest athletic talent, recount fantastic tales and adventures with his partner-in-crime Sir Ranulph Fiennes such as their unassisted crossing of Antarctica, their 7 global Marathons in 7 days, and numerous eco-challenges.
I realised that there truly is little limit to what we can do, and that if we stay active, really active, throughout our lives, we'll still be running marathons and doing amazing feats into our seventies. The moment I put down the book, I knew that was how I had always wanted to face the rest of my life.
From then on, giving up most of the parties, the booze, and the rest, well, it wasn't so hard, in fact, in some ways, it was the easiest choice I've ever made.
Dreams and Goals
I differentiate between "dreams" and "goals" (or objectives) because I have made the following philosophy my own:
Attend to the journey and the destination will attend to itself
I believe in the "Power of Now" advocated by Eckhart Tolle and in Dennis Dreyer (the ChiRunning inventors) belief in "Gradual Progress".
You simply have to focus on what you are doing right now, and can't draw in dreams of the future or experiences from the past unless they are absolutely relevant for what you are doing now. 99% they take you away from what you are doing, and you won't do it as well as you should.
So for me, goals are useful short-term objectivese that I can use as useful instruments in my daily training.
Dreams are what I hope will come to pass as a result, but I won't be disappointed if they don't, and I don't think of them or use them as a marker in my daily progress. What if I never do them? Should I be unhappy? Is my training a failure? Of course not, the quality is in the way you do things, not what you achieve in the end.
Here's my current goals for the year 2007:
- Become a better runner
- Partipicate in as many races as possible
- Get at least 2 Top 20 finishes
- Get within 120% of leaders
- Complete Dublin Marathon in less than 4 hours
- Finish within Top 25 of at least one league
- Get a ChiRunner certificate
- Get a Mountain education certificate
- Improve from race to race
And a few for 2008:
- Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
- Complete the Connemarathon (as normal or Ultra, TBD)
- Win a race
Goals 2, 4, 6 are actually poor goals, far too rigid and don't really tell anything about my progress (top 30 in a race with 150 could be better than top 20 in one with 50, etc. etc.). I've included them still, mostly to have a few immediately measurable goals to have fun with.
- Become an UltraRunner
- Quality for a WMRA race for Denmark
- Quality for Snowdon when I reach the required age of 35
- Run till I drop dead (meaning until I die of age, not because I die of running!!!)
And if it means more will join me, you are more than welcome :)
Helen Klein: Runner of several marathons, ultra-marathons, eco-challenges and much more even now as she has passed way beyond the age of 74.
Helen may be extraordinary, but her achievements are possible for all of us, as an endurance animal, humans are better than horses...