Sunday, July 12, 2009

Playing catch-up

Where to begin?

I haven’t blogged for nearly 3 weeks and I find myself not knowing where to start. Running? Just running? Or all the other craziness that is going on in my life?

In the past 3 weeks I have moved house – we've moved next door in anticipation of a house switch with my in-laws – and have quit my job – or at least , as a freelancer, quit working for the employer who was providing me with the vast majority of my work. One of my children has started her 9 week (9 week!) summer vacation and my other is about to start his 7 week vacation. All this to explain my absence from the blogosphere. I was – gasp – even off-line there for about a week.

But I’ve been running. Oh have I been running. The week of the move – which was, of course, also the week that my work got so on top of me that I decided I really had to quit working this job – was not a good running week. When I wasn’t working I was carrying boxes out of my old house into my new house (we’ve moved next door, remember, so everyone reasoned we did not need removal men…). I ran 15 out of the recommended 35m and briefly contemplated a do-over week – I have given myself 14 weeks for the 12 week program so that, if needed through life, injury or illness I can have a do-over week – but decided against it. I LOVE do-overs but they have a habit of getting in the way of just-getting-on-with-its and so, as always in the spirit of the opposite of me – I decided to carry on. And sure enough – week 3 and 4 of training have been completed happily. It’s Sunday evening and I’m writing this after a 48m week. Pfitz’s revised edition has a slight r&r week this week which my legs are ready for but otherwise – onwards and upwards.

So the facts of my running are good. I’m getting the slow miles in, but also the faster ones. I managed my 16M with 10M at 8:16 which I was pleased with. I wedged in a 10K in which I placed 8th out of 60 women – not bad for a distance I hate!

As for my life – ah well. It struck me, while out on a run yesterday that those areas of my life where I have such low expectations of myself – i.e running – are those areas where I persist and do well, and where I gain a great deal of satisfaction. I also never anticipated being married or a mother, and while I would not – by any stretch – consider myself remotely perfect mother or wife material, again the lack of expectation on my own part means that I don’t generally think I do a terrible job.

The area where I have always had high expectations of myself, however, is my career. And there, I’m afraid, I have never really been much of a success. At least, not by own standards. Although I did well at school and university, I never felt I really ever hit the sweet spot – found that thing that really worked for me. And in my jack of all trades career since things have carried on in that vein. I am trying not to talk about how others view my job or career – because some of the things I have done may have sounded prestigious, and I have rarely been terrible at a job. But neither have I ever hit on professional satisfaction – a sense that I had found my place and the direction to follow.

This sounds like a complaint and it is not. I know that when I need to go out there and earn some money I can do that. Whether I make coffee or write copy – I can do that.

But I am reaching a stage in my life where I think I perhaps need to adjust my view of myself. In my teens and twenties I thought I would be a highly professionally successful, single woman, living somewhere like New York City. Instead, I am happily married, mother of 2 children, living in the English countryside. Sports never even featured as an ambition in my life as I was just too incompetent – and now my passion is running. Perhaps I am not the person I thought I was. And I need to think about the person I actually am? And maybe by being more honest about what I am, rather than what I think I am, or used to think I would be, I will be more able to find some professional satisfaction?

All very deep thoughts on a Sunday night, after a long week. But Pfitz has me running long, and a lot. And I have killed another iPod, so thoughts like these are occupying me at the moment..

In the meantime, I have the summer ahead of me, training for Berlin and Bizz Johnson, going on holiday to Greece (lots of early morning / late evening running to avoid the heat) and Holland (wonderful, beautiful woodland trail running). Perhaps all those miles will give me the opportunity to gain some insight into my muddled head.

I will leave you all with a list inspired by Oprah the Great. This I know for sure:
- iPods are not waterproof. They don’t like being washed in a washing machine. They don’t even like being stuck inside a sweaty running bra when you forget your iPod carrier.
- Running with your family is great. I made my whole family – husband, mother-in-law, and two kids come out with me to my 10K on Tuesday and we all raced – the kids in a fun-run and Adam and I in the 10K. We all loved it, despite some troubles with the fun-run on my son’s part – and my daughter won second place, a great running shirt (which she is refusing to give to me) and everyone got inspired.
- Moving house is a pain in the behind.
- You think you’re very essential to help make things happen. You leave the place you think you’re essential to and the sky doesn’t fall. 2 weeks later, everyone is coping fine without you.
- Running is the best.
I’m back in the game peeps – back onto your blogs and comments and all. Thanks for waiting around!

11 comments:

EndorphinBuzz said...

Good to hear you are doing great and keeping the goals alive in the middle of so many life changes. Keep it up.

Irish Blue said...

Wow, you and I have been sharing some of the same work-related thoughts. I feel the same way about my own career and I'm beginning to wonder if I care at all, or if at 43 I see time starting to move at warp speed and I'm desparate to have a life, make memories, friends, see the world, etc... vs work myself to death because, as you've said, they will carry on without you. Knowing this, why we put so much effort into work and so little into life sometimes seems really odd.

Jade Lady said...

Irish Blue has a good point. I was also a workaholic...but having a child forced me to reexamine all my priorities.

Love your post. Yes, sweaty bras are no place for an iPod (but, hey, now you have an excuse to buy a brand new one - the latest and greatest!)....

Marathon Maritza said...

Glad you are back and that you are more settled with the move! Your running has been going great, well done!

I am having similar thoughts currently about my job...is it just a job or is this actually my career? Do I care to figure that out right now? Who knows.

Awesome 10K and yay for your daughter's win!!! Don't steal her shirt!

Can't wait for your visit in Oct!

ShirleyPerly said...

OMG, so much I can relate to in your post WRT to career, sports and family!

I truly think that we evolve over the years, though, and change is not necessarily a bad thing. I too would NEVER have thought that I'd be playing second fiddle to my husband's career, my step daughter's needs (when she was young), let alone become an athlete. But I know I'm much happier for doing so and I hope you are too.

Best of luck with your new direction and congrats to you and everyone on the race!

Ann said...

I'm glad the move didn't complete you stop from running. Keep it up!

aron said...

YAY glad things are settling down just a little :) you are a busy lady!!!

I feel the same way about my job... I do not look forward to it and I definitely dont get fulfillment out of it, but it also pays the bills and I can leave work at work and not bring it home... so I dont know, for now I am here.

Great job on the running!! You are doing awesome :) I think I need to get this new Pfitz book and see the changes!

MarathonChris said...

Great to hear from you and completely understand the busy thing and the career thing. Seems every 3-4 years I need to do something different!

Hang in there and thanks for checking in!

peter said...

48 miles--that's a good week! And all that transition stuff as well going on. I moved once one house over, but never next door. That was a lot of walking back and forth across the sidewalk carrying loose boxes.

lizzie lee said...

I think I have said this before, but I need to print your blog and read it time after time... It inspires me... Or you usually inspire me...

I am in a laziness mood to make a marathon decision... I read your 48 miles with some sort of envy.... I wanna get there... and don't know what I am missing.....

A lot of "dots"... like saying Oh, well!!!!

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