Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Comeback

Tuesday night, yesterday, I ran a 6k tempo on the track, and it took me 22:12, which is 5:57 pace per mile. It's pretty exciting to be doing a workout at sub 6 minute pace, but it's also a long way from the 20:12 6k tempos that I ran back in 2011 and 2012.

I don't know what is next for me. In many respects I've accomplished what I set out to, I was on Team USA, and I climbed Mt. Everest. The motivation changes as I age. Yes, part of me knows that what I have done is not enough, not as much as is possible for me, and racing faster and climbing more challenging routes still call, and are very possible for me, but then again the couch also calls after work some days when I just don't feel like exercising.

Perhaps this is my seven year sabbatical from difficult physical sports? In 2010, being unemployed, I played a fair amount of video games, ran in the middle of the day, and read quite a lot. While I didn't like it at the time, applying for every available job I could find, in hind sight it was nice to have that break, at least for the first two months.

In the moment, it's hard to really know the extent that something has an effect on you. It's also terribly hard to identify having peaked. Meb Keflezighi ran his fastest race and won the Boston Marathon at age 38 in 2014. When I saw him at the 2007 Olympic Marathon Trials in New York struggle to the finish in 8th, I thought at age 32 his career might be over. A win in New York and Boston, and fourth place at the London Olympics later... I was obviously wrong.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

All Time Low

A song came out a few months ago called “All Time Low” by Jon Bellion and while I am certainly not going through my all time low, I am going through a bit of a low. Again, nowhere near the kind of lows I've had in the past. It's like the movie "Inside Out" where sadness can be a key part of our core memories that shape who we are. In other words, it's important to have low times as well as high times, you can't be emotionless.

My family had a fight while we were in Arizona. Turns out five days together with only one rental car is too much of us in a small space. We can’t even agree on when to eat breakfast. I like to imagine that I have an amazing family, you can call us perfect if you want, we certainly aren’t, but I can see how we might try to sell that image to the world, and put on a semi-successful acting performance. The point is, if even we have fights with each other, everyone must have fights with each other! As I mentioned this to several people over the past week many empathized with me because family gatherings and the holidays can be a stress as much as it can be a celebration in many families. 

To add to it, while I did climb a 14er in Colorado solo on January 2nd, which is a big deal, and I mean I didn’t see anyone else for 9.8 miles, I feel very much in an athletic slump. I’ve got to be one of the only people in the world who climbed Everest and is disappointed I used supplemental oxygen, it feels like a failure. Isn’t that bizarre? Of course it was a success! How could I feel it was anything but a success? Running just has not gone my way the last two years. There have been a couple good races, but nothing that really stands out the way previous races did. It’s been over five years since I PR’d in the marathon. I’ve gained weight. Am I done? Will I ever set another PR again?

Financially I had the best year I have ever had. My 401(k) made a lot of money in 2016, I passed new earnings and net worth miles stones, becoming more financially secure than I ever have been. But money feel very empty. It’s just a number, and it is so easy to simply want more. I reach a financial mile stone and I feel the same as I did before reaching it. Sometime in the 2030s I will probably become a millionaire, and nothing will change, partly because of inflation, being a millionaire in the 2030s won’t mean much. I write this because it feels like the feelings about my finances should change as they improve, but they don’t.

Blogging regularly for eight years has been a nice way to express things, to sort them out in my head and then share them with the world, but as I become more established, I wonder, what is the point? People don’t want to read about my privileged life. And they especially don’t want to hear that I feel like a failure far more often than I feel any signs of success. Maybe it's time to call blogging quits?

This is a key part of my personal motivation, the feeling of inadequacy, of never being good enough. Of course, as a Christian sinner, I will never be good enough to deserve Heaven, or even the wealth, in all of it’s many forms, that I enjoy here on Earth. So I feel even worse, which encourages me to be the best I can, but perfection is an unobtainable goal. I don't know. Do you want to hear these things?