Goals are a fairly new phenomenon in my life. I avoided them, not for fear that I couldn’t reach them but because I saw them as a definitive and absolute marker of Success. Which is not how I’d like to picture Success. That definition is just too absolute and that alone makes it daunting. Which makes it the surest trigger of my sho ‘nough crazy formally diagnosed by my mother as “intense and internal.” I don’t challenge her; after all, as my dad would say, she “knew me ‘fore I knew myself.”
So I’m training for my next marathon. I run all the time, so when I say I’m training it just means I’m amping up my crazy to maximum decibels.
It means about 2 weeks ago on the night before my first “official” training run—no more miles, no faster pace than the usual—I had one of my running nightmares.
In this one, I was running a 10k. Everyone, including race marshalls, wanted to stop at some country store that looked like a saloon with its creaky wooden floors and dusty porch. They were marveling at the candy sticks as I ran off not really knowing my way, all frustrated and pouty that I was not gonna achieve my goal time.
The next dream came just before a speed interval workout. I was racing in a marathon and the marshalls, who didn’t know the route, misdirected me. Again, I was frustrated that I was going to fail to reach my goal. In this nightmare I cried through those last couple of miles—which were additional to the 26.2 because of the marshalls’ misdirecting.
These recent nightmares are no more pitiful than the morning I woke up pounding the bed. In my dream I had been racing a half-marathon that in my waking life I was nervous about. So I woke up running. In bed. In real life, I earned the kind of PR in that race that I hold on to when my perspective gets skewed (which is how it pretty much stays when I’m training. Okay, when I’m not training too).
My skewed perception is as physical as it is mental. I’ve been near sighted since 2nd grade which means that the farther out an object, the less able I am to perceive it. Corrective lenses do the best they can to adjust my perception.
Similarly, with goals, the Future is daunting because as morbid as it sounds, It may not be what It looks like and may not be at all. How many times my poor vision painted something to look like something completely alien to what I find it to be once I get a closer look.
Running has been a corrective lens. Since running I have embraced goals—okay more like a colleague hug. My perspective gets periodically tweaked, like my corrective lens prescription, so that I can experience incremental improvements as the evidence of success that they are. Not an absolute, which turns on my crazy, recorded in a chip time posted for all posterity on the Race Results Page.
I know I’m probably just justifying my crazy again. But if it works to get me where I’m trying to go, I think I’m gonna take this road. 70 in a 60, soundtrack on deaf.