AOM – Writing Prompt #1 – What Do I Want?

I have been reading the Art of Manliness off and on for several years. While I might not agree with all of the things presented on the site, it does have a lot of great information and the site’s posts do make me stop and pause for a minute to think about what has been written and at this stage of my life some of the challenges interest me more than they did in the past.

When I read this challenge a while ago, I printed it out in a PDF and filed it away for day when I might use it, there was something about it that resonated with me. Since I have changed my blog a little, seem to have a bit more energy to think about what I think about (that meta cognition thing), it seemed like a good time for me to use those writing prompts.

So I am going to adapt the writing prompts a bit and use the self-sufficiency idea that these prompts are based to address my own questions or thoughts about running that come about as a result as a result of my thinking about the writing prompt.

I imagine that with a busy life that completing all the prompts will take more than 31 days, it will take as long as it takes to complete all 31 and I am good with that. Especially, since I think that these prompts will force me to stop and think about some things with my running from perspectives that I would not have otherwise.

Day 1

“The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another.”? Jiddu Krishnamurti

What is something you have or are pursuing, that other people say is worthwhile,
but you havenʼt found valuable?

Do you continue to pursue it based on the promises of others?

As the years go by, we change, we are not the same person that we were at another point and time in our lives. Is basing a goal on a promise made 50 years years ago, really something that I want to do or is it an artificial stressor that limits me?

So the exploration begins.

I am no longer so sure if the promise and goal I made as a youth, is one that still has real meaning in my life or running today. If anything, my wife is worried that if I do pursue this goal, that it might consume me and take years off my life, to accomplish it the way that I want to.

With the way that my mind works, I have to ask myself questions related to the prompt and which in turn creates more questions that I need to answer.

Let me ask myself a few questions and attempt to give short answers.

What is something you have or are pursuing, that other people say is worthwhile,
but you havenʼt found valuable?

Most runners would think that my goal is one that has become the “holy grail” of running for many of us. While I want to be able to say that I too have done this, when I stop and really look at what I really want, being able to complete this this does not consume me or make more or less a runner or person if I never do it. Even though I seem to think or write about it so much. I really think that I have to let it go, because it is more a weight than a positive part of my life.

Do you continue to pursue it based on the promises of others?

No one is pushing me to accomplish this goal or promising me anything if I do.

Would accomplishing this goal change my life?

Not really, there would be a sense of accomplishment and the Bucket List would have another thing crossed off. Otherwise after the initial thrill wore off, my life would be no different, other than getting that monkey off my back. Which is not enough of a reason to continue having it be a primary goal.

Could my wife’s worries be justified?

Maybe, training the way that I would want to, would be difficult and maybe more challenging than I want to admit, with certain medical issues that I know that I do have. Things that wouldn’t be an issue with less strenuous training, might allow them to rear their ugly head and have a negative effect on my health.

Would training for this goal change how I feel about my running?

Probably, with the intensity and time commitment it would require me to sacrifice other things that are important to me. I have a feeling that it would negatively effect other parts of my life and I would start to dread my workouts versus where I am now – looking forward to the challenges that they are providing me and enjoying the easy runs.

Will my body hold up to the training required for this goal?

That is a big question and my past history has not been one that would give me a lot of confidence in my body holding up to the training necessary to be successful – at least what I would consider to be successful.

Are my expectations realistic or driven by factors that I have no control over?

There are age related standards that I have to meet to qualify for this goal, so other than using a different entry method, which I will not use (a personal choice), I have no option other than meeting the standard.

So many other runners all around me are either running my goal race or are attempting to qualify for that race – is it simply me wanting to be a part of the excitement of saying that I too did that?

I think there is some of wanting to do it too, being able to say that I qualified and ran the race, but at the same time, it is more and yet less than that…if that makes any sense to anyone but me.

The reality is that

There were many more questions that I answered as a result of this writing prompt, that I did not include in this post, just to keep the length semi-reasonable.

However, all of my thinking about the writing prompt and the questions, raised many more questions and made me think about my thinking about this goal from a different perspective – which I needed.

Using the writing prompt as a starting point required me to be much more honest with myself than I have been with myself about this subject in the past and forced me to face the reality that this goal is no longer all that important me.

Yeah, in case you haven’t guessed it, my goal is/was qualifying and running the Boston Marathon.

The truth is that I have changed a lot since I made that promise to my grandfather so many years ago. The one that I would run in the Boston Marathon and an additional one to myself after a DNF at the 1982 Marine Corps Marathon.

I am now a different person and at a different place in my life’s journey.

Running a Boston Qualifying time and then running the Boston Marathon is not really something that I feel that I have to do anymore. It is more something that I dream about doing, but do not have the motivation and probably the ability to complete the training necessary to make it anything more than a dream.

This is one of those promises that I think I will give myself permission to let go of.

If I ever do run another marathon, it will be because the me today has decided that I want to run one and not necessarily with the idea that I need to do it, to eventually run Boston.

Using the writing prompt was a very good exercise that caused me to really stop, think about what I thought about this goal and why it had such a hold over me for all these years. I answered the questions that I had in my head and few more that I did not write down because they were nobody else’s business, but that needed to be answered.

It does feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I can look at my running, without worrying about having Boston in the back of my mind and how my current training will play into achieving a BQ time.

Time to move on. 🙂

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