Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Coming Full Circle - Running For Fun

When I first started running I ran to lose weight - it was originally part of my get fit quick campaign before my wedding. Ironically I've been married 9 years on the 2nd of April so this post has some good timing.

I never thought I would travel to all parts of Australia to run in events, hell I didn't even know "fun runs" existed. Because of running I have run in races all across our great land, and have met some of the most genuine and down to earth people in the running community. Runners are special souls.

Because of running Jason and I started HRE and because of HRE we have been able to grow running events in Central Queensland. Runners rate our event - the CQPhysio Group Capricorn Coast Running Festival as the most professional event in CQ. I have been blessed to have found running and runners who enjoy the sport and love to share in others experiences.

During my short lived Ultra Marathon career, I became fixated on results. Somehow I went from just enjoying running to letting it well and truly consume what I was doing. I wanted you all to say how good I was. I wanted to be like the others, the winners. Wanting to be a winner meant beating others, this soon sucked the fun out everything.  

So after 18 months and a lot of self reflecting in the last 3 months, I am returning to endurance running to have fun. I miss the running crew, miss the sharing of training plans and race strategies. Miss dreaming of the world marathon majors. Miss the suffering of failures and celebration of successes. I couldn't care less if I ever finish a local race first or last. From this point forward I am simply going to enjoy my running and training.

It may seem like a back flip BUT this is in no way saying I am happy not to push my limits. So please don't get the two confused. My goals are to become a better all-round runner than I was in 2012, I know I can apply myself and I know my strengths and weaknesses better than ever. My purposeful main change is not to become fixated with results or times. I plan to run 2-3 marathons this year, by October I plan to be in great shape and to run a PB. But my PB is just that, not yours or Jason's or Ben's or anyone else's. If I don't reach my goal, I will keep chipping away at it. 

The message for myself and my sons when they eventually read this is that I want you to be the best you can be, and not to compare your effort with any other person. Your success in life is a reflection on you, not a reflection on me or anyone else. If, and when you find yourself comparing your results, or achievement with others it is time to stop and ask yourself "why am I doing this" is it for some form of external public reinforcement/recognition or is for the feeling of self accomplishment.

In looking back my focus on being "good" at something - in this case running took over and I lost the fun part of why I was doing it. You should have fun with it, it isn't my job, and my times are in no way ever going to mean anything to anyone else. Like I have said before, there is always someone better somewhere.

When I helped out at the Rocky Road Runners opening race a couple of weeks ago, it really reinforced why I started running in events. It was awesome to cheer runners on, first or last place. Encouraging them to push their limits. I missed it.

So as a little motivation for everyone, this is my first full week of getting back on the horse and training for endurance. I have been struggling a little, but enjoying getting out of bed and hitting the road once more. My goal over the next few weeks is to get back to running a 10k in 50 minutes. So I am doing longer intervals at 5.00/km pace 800s, and mile repeats to ingrain that pace. It is hard, certainly hard working against what I am good at (like just sprinting 200m) but it has a special feel to it, my mind has already drifted off thinking about Gold Coast Marathon and Melbourne Marathons. Thinking of the race course, and that feeling of coming down the finish chute knowing you are a marathoner.

I am pleased I spent the time pushing my speed limits last year. It has given me a great insight into my strengths and how I can build a training plan going forward.

I know it will take a good 8 weeks before I have any endurance, I am looking forward to working hard, the grind and the struggle.

"Chase you goals Sean - go full steam ahead, but don't lose sight of having fun and enjoying the moment."

Running is who am, not what I do.



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