Manifesto for 2017: Real change begins with small steps

Relearning the Love of Running

March 29, 2017 Comments (0) The Blog

Pacing Through Chaos

My company is currently going through two separate business acquisitions. This means two distinct sets of customers, each with different expectations of how to interface with our Support team, the ways we conduct business, everything. And they will all need help all at once, as we get them rolling in our network.

I’ve worked longer hours and with less sleep these past weeks, than any time I can recall. I’ve not been this focused in a very long time. Running has almost become an afterthought, despite upcoming marathons and distance events I absolutely must continue training for. This very blog post came out in perhaps 20 minutes’ time, and it’s a reflection of the high-functioning state I’m currently locked into.

I know it’s unsustainable. It’s exhausting. It’s hard to catch my breath. It’s hard to find balance. But also, it’s creating moments of completely new systems of behavior I’ve never before contemplated. For example, yesterday’s evening run, after a long day in the office, is something previously I would not have considered because of all the things going on. I allowed myself to slow it way, way down, to focus on my breathing, and to take that hour for myself and to find peace and balance.

Coming away from that were some revelations about the ways success may present itself, and, whether prepared for it or not, we are faced with some hard choices we must make in order to reach the goal.

  • Empires aren’t built by waiting. If you want to create something, you have to go out and build it. But be sure you are building with the right mindset and not rushing through it.
  • Work it with the connections and resources you have at hand. Determine what you can do, versus delegate to a trusted partner or vendor. Look at the big picture of what you are actually trying to accomplish, and cut everything not aligned with that goal out of the picture at least in the short term, and possibly in the long term.
  • You have to want it so bad that you’re not just willing to adopt a stricter discipline, you need to actively work that discipline without a manual and continually ask yourself if that is even good enough.
  • Get ready for sacrifice, so make sure you’re not sacrificing the successes already in your life. Remember to uphold the good you already champion and to know the difference between the things helping you, and those hindering you.
  • Focus on the positive and embrace it, and run as far and fast away from the detractors, negative energies, and find alternate routes around the roadblocks in front of you.
  • Remember to breathe. The majority of what we do in this life involves simply existing, and breathing directly regulates our body’s ability to function, relax, and repair.
  • Find a rhythm that can carry you the distance. Ultra runners don’t run fast, they run slower in exchange for drastically increased distance. Taking the edge of your activity, so you can catch your breath and reduce your heart rate, can see you to the finish without breaking a sweat.

For the past few months, I’ve regularly attended long-distance, weekend runs with Coach Jim’s group here in the Portland area. We specifically set out to pace ourselves at uncomfortably slow paces, but which facilitate long distances (15-20 miles) in preparation for upcoming races and relays for which we are each training. The exchange of speed for distance is hard to understand until you try it. And, it grows on you.

While some may be concerned about their pace time — me included — in the bigger picture, I’m appreciating the way this method is helping me while not straining me. I can go out, drop 20 miles with a group of fun people, at a pace where we can talk the entire time, and walk away thinking hmm, I’m hungry, versus feeling like on death’s doorstep from overdoing it.

It may be one of the most frenetic, near-panic-striking, and intense periods of my professional career, but I’m still smiling. Running and training have directly helped me understand the need to find the right pace to get through this time, knowing it will balance out in the end, and when I do reach that goal, I want to be just as strong and refreshed as I was at the onset. 🙂

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