November 10, 2010

Back on Track; or, the Five-minute Mile

For better or for worse, I am incurably goal oriented; without challenges I would sit and fester. Once I set my own targets I am stubbornly fierce about meeting them. I am much more pragmatic about goals set by others. After all, one might think one’s boss or, in the case of academics, one’s peer reviewers, to be ridiculous. Meeting arbitrary conditions is soul sapping. And even if you think the third-party goal worthwhile, the satisfaction is never quite fulfilling. Then again, hitting my own marks does not so much satisfy as stave off the worst kind of disappointment. How does that adage from school teachers go? ‘You’ve let the school down, you’ve let me down, but most of all you’ve let yourself down’. And there it is: I hate to disappoint myself. Therefore if I set out to do something, it had better get done. You might think this a bizarre masochistic streak, but I call it manliness. My intentions are to cultivate and enact self-reliance, determination (grit and pluck), organisation, resolve and purpose. As I said, I call it manliness (or part thereof). It can be plied back into a world full of things bigger and more important than I, and, with any luck, to everyone’s benefit.

It will be just like this
I suppose it has been long enough since my marathon exploits of September to let you in on the next goal. I confess that the long run, and the hundreds of miles that went into its preparation, took a toll on the legs. One particular ligament at the top of the fibula did not want to settle down for about a month, and then I took another month very easily so as not to aggravate anything. But for the last couple of weeks I’ve slowly been upping the intensity, and nothing has snapped, so I’m comfortable with stating my intentions. I timed a mile yesterday and clocked 6:45, which is somewhere near my pace as a 14-year old. Sigh. The target is 5 minutes, and I’m giving myself a year to do it. Oh, and I’ll run the Berlin half marathon in April, aiming for something under 1.40:00. As per the last challenge, I won’t bore you with the details, however gruesomely and deliciously they would read, until the deeds are done.

5 comments:

  1. Doctor, you remind me of an answer Hemingway once gave to Dorothy Parker: grace under pressure.

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  2. That is a great photo from the City I call home......

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  3. Thank you Kravien. I shall assume that to be a good thing.
    And to Mr. Sportsman, I shall be in that fair city in the summer, with any luck. Grey holey sweatsuit at the ready.
    VB

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  4. Good for you! I hate running but I admire those that run marathons or for health and fitness.

    I live a mile or so from my doctor, and today I called off work fearing I had something contagious so planned a trip to the walk-in clinic. I've always thought it's ridiculous to drive such a short distance, and since I felt ok other than my sore throat, I rode there and back. I've been wanting to do it for a while, however most of the time I don't have the ability to ride when I'm sick.

    Anyway I feel better for having done it, even as I realized how out of shape I am at the moment. A bit of simpatico on this end.

    I hope your leg continues to be well, and good luck!

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  5. Thank you my dear, and get well soon.
    VB

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