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Insights from the black sea (V.10)

Perception, the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

Communication, imparting or exchanging of information or news.

Change, make or become different.

Today I went on a 10 mile journey. It was full of a couple of highs, and many key learnings. I owe a lot of this to my wife for signing the family up for an "I CAN and I WILL RUN" event to help support children who can't. A cause I didn't know about, or how closely tied they were to friendships of my wife.

The race was virtual and everyone had the choice to run/walk whatever distance goal they had set for themselves. Since the cause was in support of children who will never experience the same luxuries we take for granted, such as running or even walking without assistance, I knew my goal had to be one that pushed me beyond my comfort zone. Finally the prior day, I had determined it was going to be 10mi.

I hadn't ran 10miles since training for a full marathon in 2012, so definitely no time like this event to get uncomfortable. Plus there was an internal announcement in my head which would not allow me to decommit.

My goal was to run without stopping at a realistic pace, given my current fitness didn't include long mileage running. Also, the arrogance of thinking that because the new found fitness success it should be attainable. Well, it was a very unrealistic approach for many reasons.

My failure started with the stopping and starting, I didn't account for with my kids in tow. I forgot this was a family event first, and would expand to personal goals second. My kids although athletic were also not in distance running shape, so my goal setting, and approach to the event was wrong from the very start.

Now I was adjusting in my head on the fly. The new plan was to get the family halfway through whatever running goals they have set (or we set for them) and then go in pursuit of my own. The new plan included, once I started down my own path there would be no walking.

After dropping my daughter off with my wife at the halfway point, the continual self discovery started. I don't enjoy long distance running at all. It's probably my least favorite exercise (yes, even before burpees). I've also made it a point to run without music, so I can use this time to focus on processing my thoughts. If you haven't tried it before, just attempt it once.

There were several personal events that required deep thought and reflection on how to communicate, react, and respond to situations. Before navigating down that path, I first needed to decide on the approach to mile 5. The half way marker is a pivotal point in how you view the remainder of your run. For me it's the "it's all downhill from here" mentality.

It's crazy how you can breakdown a run to its most simplistic form, and wonder why you ever hated it in the first place. When I run, I always look at the ground. It's a mental thing for me, if I look ahead and the distance seems to far away, the next step seems impossible. A lot like life. When your try to solve problems with a "boil the ocean" approach, you'll find yourself repeatedly stuck in cold water.

My focus when running is, just put one fucking foot in front of the other, focus on that next step, and finish. Simple right? Something I noticed today, that never really occurred to me was the shadow created by the sun and your body depending on time of day. Since this was mid morning my shadow was in front of me.

My viewpoint on this revelation was my old self is leading me to the halfway marker, and if my non scientific calculations served me correct, the best version of me would steer me home. Again, this is my new way of thinking as I continue to evolve, right or wrong.

While old self is leading, my reflection on earlier mentioned occurrences start. How could you have handled that differently? Where did the problem stem from in the first place? What can you do to resolve? Will it change anything? The one thing I knew for sure was I had no control over an individuals emotional reaction, but I could focus on the the first 3 questions.

Perception of how I reacted and creating a different approach was pretty obvious. The next piece what less obvious. What caused the initial reaction in the first place? Once that was identified, its was clear communication should've happened long before it got to this point. Lastly, all you can do is share where the gaps in your approach took place, any insight on how YOU would feel if the shoe were on the other foot, and what you will do differently in the future. Again, at a loss of control over response. We are emotional creatures, and when caught in emotion, trying to process rational thinking is tough. Definitely for me.

This was all drummed up in my first 5 miles, and as estimated I had to lead my shadow home. What I didn't account for was the stumbles that come on a "downhill" path. It has a negative and positive connotation in association. What I experienced was growing tired quickly. The euphoria that was once there, soon left. At this very point I began to walk.

Taking ownership of this key learning was tough. Where do I place this disappointment, and how do I approach the remaining 4miles? Bite-size chunks, that's how. What win needed to be celebrate over the last 6miles? Reaching that halfway marker. How do you finish and run? One foot in front of the other. I broke the remainder of my run into smaller goals. My workable solution was alternating running/walking to intersections made the run a lot more manageable in my current mental and physical state.

If you take anything from this long drawn out story:

- Identify what perception is being created

- Acknowledge the gaps in how those perceptions were communicated

- Choose to change the behavior

The biggest win of the day, AND key learning was...…there is always a finish line somewhere.

Life will produce plenty of runs for us to go on. Today I was able to cross one of many finish lines.



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