Running Commentary 2

One of the most interesting aspects of writing a communication plan is imagining the answer to the question, what does success look like? It's a question good enough to help frame all sorts of projects and efforts in real life.

Including the Big Sur half marathon in Monterey in November.

Somewhere along the way, Shelagh and I have somehow made that 13-mile run a possibility. I have never run a half marathon. I have run a half half marathon twice. Once, really. The first time, I finished, but came away with a sore left knee. What I remember most keenly from that race is the message I sent to my legs with the finish line in view. "Okay, let's kick it up a gear and sprint to the finish line," I said. "Forget you," my legs said. It was bewildering. I ordered my legs to move faster, and they simply rebelled. I could not run faster. The second time I ran that distance, I couldn't finish. The pain in my knee forced me to stop. By the time I walked the course, the police cars had pulled their points. Runners who had finished walked by me with their medals. I had already removed my running bib. I felt old.

That knee still gives me trouble, but I manage the pain by trying my best to run properly, rest, take strain off my back, and not expect more of myself than I can realistically deliver. But that is easier said than done.

Right now, we're five months out from the run. Or is it a race? As I try to govern my inner conversations and debates about the Monterey half marathon, that fundamental question of communications reappears: what does success look like? Is success:

The blogger considers success
  • finishing under a certain time?
  • recording a personal best?
  • hitting the finish line under, say, 2 hours and 15 minutes?
  • getting a finisher medal?
  • finishing without pain?
  • finishing with manageable pain?
  • not having to have surgery after the race?
  • running the race with Shelagh?
  • seeing Monterey?
  • thinking new thoughts in a new place?
  • having a nice meal and a glass of wine with Shelagh, Janet and Kelly after the run?
  • finishing?
  • thinking about Steinbeck while I run?
  • giving thanks that I can run?
  • meeting new people?
  • learning to run properly?
  • learning to be okay with runners of any age running by me?
  • being able to stop if I feel sore, and not be unhappy about that?
  • being pissed off if I can't finish?
  • coming back with a good story?
  • learning my limits as I do train?
And here's another question: How do I pick the right question? 

(Thanks to everyone who has helped make this my most read blog entry -- so far!)


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