Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Viva la Vida

by Coldplay

"I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemies eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
'Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!'

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, and pillars of sand"


I was taken by this Cold Play song the first time I ever heard it. The message I take from this song is that you're on top of the world one moment, and it's all gone before you get a chance to realize what happened. I believe this message is pertinent to all of us, regardless of where we fall on the continuum. Dealing with our success and eventual downfall is part of life.

A young person thinks they are invincible. In their prime they are unbeatable and victory comes easily. PRs fall, barriers are broken, enemies are defeated, gambles are taken and won. The world revolves around them, and their achievements and potential open the doors to another life.

And then it happens. One day they wake up hurting a little more than normal. The adversary who used to trail them is on their heels and then passing them. An exponential amount of work goes into producing a new PR, yet their body fails them under the extra workload. Their day has come and gone.

If they are lucky they can point to a single moment where they were on top of the world -- a paradoxical combination of their crowning achievement and the coup de grace for their career. The first place finish, the course record, the medal. They think about the days when people chased them -- when they left strangers effortlessly in their shadow -- when people wanted to BE them. Now those people have taken their throne and the associated brashness in exchange for fading memories and humility. The old king is dead, long live the new king.


Although I wish I had taken to running in high school, I appreciate the fact that I found my passion in my early 30s. I will never be able to perform at the level I could have achieved during high school and college. I am disappointed by this realization because I'll never know what I could have achieved. But I'm currently riding the wave of continuous improvement as I approach the cusp of middle age. The ability to recognize and appreciate the cycle of achievement on the upside is the gift I've been given. It affords me the maturity to relish in my potential yet concurrently be acutely aware of the shelf life of my capabilities. One day soon improvements will cease, and I'll be looking at PRs in the rear view mirror. Fully appreciating the downside makes the upside that much sweeter.


10/26/08 - 7.82M, 1:01:00, 7:48 pace This was a quick trail run around Julie's parents' neighborhood before mass. This link was famous for a day as it became a top Google hit for "Baton Rouge Trail Runs". My sister-in-law stumbled across it and let me know. Almost every half mile split was negative, and I hammered out the last 1.3M at 6:32 and felt like I could have carried that five more miles.
10/27/08 - 4.01M, 36:05, 8:58 pace, Avg HR = 118 (Zone 2.2) Wanted to run 6 but I gave in and only finished four since I got a late start. No PM run.
10/28/08 - AM10.08M, 1:13:35, 7:17 pace, no HR. I averaged 6:39 on the last four miles, and could have run another few with no problems. This isn't supposed to be happening based on the miles I have on my legs, but the weather provides great uplift. PMTour de Bayou final stage (4), 3.80M, 25:54, 6:49 pace, no HR. I finished third overall in this stage, and first overall for the cumulative open mens division. I finished the series races in 1st, 2nd, 4th, 3rd. This race wasn't particularly challenging, although I did kick it up a notch toward the end and put some distance between me and the 4th place finisher. My mile splits were: 6:53, 6:49, 6:54, and 5:13 for .8 (6:31 pace).


Anonymous said...

Don't worry, buddy. You've got quite a few years before you wake up with that horrible realization.

Bill said...

100 miles in a week? I'd have to say you are definitely hard core. I think you will probably reap some good benefits if your body holds up. Are you training for the marathon?