The “Why” Behind The New Header

I changed the header on my blog this week and I did it for a very specific reason.

To make it useful to me.

I wanted a tool to remind me of where I have come from, things I want to achieve and to remind me that my running has been a journey, not something that just recently became “something I started doing”.

Picture #1 – Was a photo of me before a cross-country meet in 1974. It was the start of my senior year at Nokomis High School up in Newport, Maine and it reminds me of the great future that we all believe is ahead of us versus the reality that our lives become. For many the high school years are the “glory days” and we are limited to memories of “who we were then” or “what we should have done”.

Looking back, I should and probably could have done more with my running, but never did. Yeah, the story of untapped potential versus the reality of what happened. However, I have learned that while high school happened, that guy in the photo is a stranger to who I am now. We can’t live in the past and have to keep moving forward. We have to make now – our “Glory Days” and let go of what might have been.

Another thing this photo reminds is that the “myth” that life was always better back when…(you add in the year), sometimes we have selective memories and tend to remember the good things about the good olde days, when the truth be told those good olde days were not always that good and that I would not want to go back re-live my life again (without making more than a few changes to things I had done). Right now is the best time of my life, because it is the only one that I have any real control over. Tomorrow can be influenced by today’s actions, but yesterday is but a memory.

Picture #2 – I was running in the 1983 Marine Corps Marathon. Which will be the only marathon that I will probably ever finish although I have continued to delude myself on several levels that I will qualify and run Boston someday – I know – never say never, but…well the body would need to hold up to marathon training and so far it has not.

The 1983 MCM was the toughest race I have ever done and to be honest, it took something out of me to finish that race. I became a different runner after it and it was not for the better. I don’t go to the well anymore – runners will understand what I am saying and yes it still does affect how hard I will run during a race.

Picture #3 – Is from Joseph’s 5K in 2013, I was probably in the best shape I have been in since 1986 and was running great. It was the race where I set my post-55 PR that I am now chasing in the 5K — 21:20. I wanted to have this photo here to remind of this particular goal and where I was both physically and mentally when I set it.

Picture #4 – I was the assistant cross-country coach at Lawrence Junior High School in 2010. At this point, I was over 200 pounds, six months before knee surgery and trying to get through the school year. It was the low point of my life when it comes to being physically fit.

I put that photo there to remind me of how far I have come AND that when I put my mind to do something that I can do it, despite it being tough or a lot of hard work. Sometimes you have to make choices that go against what “everyone” else is doing and stick to it if you want to keep moving forward.

Picture #5 – A photo from the 2014 Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race. It is there to remind me that I am not an island and that I need to get back to doing more things in the local running community. I was very active in the Central Maine Striders during this time and for various reasons, I withdrew from being active in the club.

It is a reminder to enjoy my running and life as it is, not some surrealistic attempt to be anything other than who I am and where I am now.

Picture #6 – A photo from the only road race that I have ever won outright. It was not because I was particularly fast that day or had a great race (my time in the next year’s race was only 2 seconds slower and I sure didn’t win).

Winning this race was completely about the fact that I actually showed up. Showing up, getting to the race is 90% of the battle for me, actually running the race or doing whatever is the easy part, once I get there. I need to keep reminding myself that I might not be the fastest, strongest or best runner in the area, but you might be the best one that actually shows up that day.

It is my reminder that I gotta show up, to do, not just try or simply train by myself.

This quote sums up what I mean:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

This is true in my running and also life in general.

Picture #7 – A photo from my most recent race, where Ron was considerate enough to pace me to a good time. It shows the comradiere that runners have and reminds me to give back to the sport that I love so much.

Something if I am not careful of, is that I tend to isolate myself from others and think only of the things that I want to accomplish in running or other things. This race where Ron took the time to pace the old geezer to a much faster time than I would have done without his help, reinforced the idea that accepting help from others is not a bad thing and also that helping others can be rewarding as well. When I isolate myself, I sometimes forget those things.

The reality is that

Those are the back stories behind each of the photos I chose for the header. They are all there for specific reasons and since I do tend to spend a lot of time on my blog, they will be there to remind me of things that I want to work on.

I have a feeling that from time-to-time different photos will be added or deleted based on my present needs, goals and wants from my running and where I am in my life. It is not going to remain a static header, it will be dynamic and change according to what is going on.

Sometimes our blogs are not just about passing information about giving advice to others, for getting free stuff, making money or giving our opinions about whatever…no, sometimes they are web logs that we use to remind of things we want to do or heaven forbid where we have been.

A unique thought about what a web log is about in today’s blogosphere.