Sunday, 26 May 2013

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

Does that sound like a strange title for a blog entry? But there is method in my madness. Just over a month ago (soon after I’d finished the Oxfam 100km trailwalk) I posted “What’s the next big challenge???” back in January I posted “my physical and mental energy has been mutually focused on one goal and I followed a very structured program in order to achieve that goal….so what now????” So what has been going on in my head for the last month or so?

I’ve learned that personally I need a goal, something to plan towards, a structured set of objectives to get me to the final result – no wonder I’m a Program Manager!!! For the last few weeks the alarm has been going off early so I could go for a run and the snooze button is getting the workout, not my body. With no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, my mojo has taken a hike.

That’s not to say I have completely turned into a couch potato. I have been going to my weekly local parkrun and trotting out 5kms at a fair (but not pushing myself) pace. I’ve managed a few longer runs after work, when time has allowed, and as an earlier post alluded to I’ve entered a few 10km events just to keep the legs ticking over.

Today I took part in the Emer Casey Fun Run, an event that takes the runners through the grounds of Monash University in Clayton. This event was started in 2008 in memory of Emer Casey a young Irish woman who died of ovarian cancer. Her family have set up a foundation to raise funds for research into ovarian cancer, in particular research into developing an early detection test for the disease. The Melbourne event is small enough to still retain the great community feel and has roughly 300 or so runners participating in 5 or 10 kilometres. To date the Melbourne event as raised close to $100,000 for ovarian cancer research.

I took my 10 year old son along with me and he participated in the 5km event (smashing his previous 5km best time by running 28.37 – so he tells me) and I took part in the 10k event aiming to run somewhere between 65 and under 70 mins, finishing in 68.28. Again not a quick time but I was feeling the legs on the soft spongy dirt and grass sections of the course and the knees creaked a few times around the hairpin bends. I was happy with that time as I’m just ticking over the k’s and it fitted into my expected finishing time. Again the event was a blast with bands playing at the start on the course itself and at the finish, eager university students getting up early to volunteer around the course as marshals, a (now famous) strange warm up and a great humorous presentation ceremony featuring Olympic silver medalist Sonia O’Sullivan (5,000m at Sydney Olympics). I urge any Melbourne based runners to give the event a try out in 2014 – you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the word “fun” staying in the “fun run” lexicon.

Next week I’m running the Mt Macedon Trails Plus 10km event which has 357m elevation gain and being an out and back course you run the first section downhill, up a hill and back down it to finish the last three or so kilometers climbing back up hill. All on trails, which could well be muddy, slushy and slippery. This will be on day 2 of winter so the temperature could be close to freezing point so very much a different way to spend a Sunday morning – what sort of running event says to pack a jacket? Well a running event in Australia that is.

But the point of this post was to highlight that I have to find a new challenge, a new event a couple of months in the future so I can train, retire the snooze button hitting and start pushing out a few decent mid week and weekend runs. Even though these peripheral events are fun I can’t just keep going from one fun run to the next with no major goal on the horizon. Another curly to add to my problem is the fact that I’ll be traveling in September and October (with no chance of training whilst away) so that makes the Melbourne Marathon an impossibility. Not that I have any real urges to run that event, as you can probably tell I enjoy the smaller more community based ones with a littler crowd and less hustle and bustle on the course. Having said that it is an event on my doorstep so I probably should participate – maybe in 2014. I did do the half marathon there last year and had a great time, it’s the full marathon on bitumen that I’ll not be upset about if I never run it.

So what do I do when I don’t know what to do? As any good project person will tell you – I’m going to build a plan. I’ll weigh up my options, find the one that best suits my schedule, enter and start planning and executing. When I next post here it will be after Mt Macedon (I hope to get some shots) and with a definite future date and event that I’ll be planning for.

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