“We can talk about the road behind, How getting lost is not a waste of time” Jack Johnson
As a New Year’s resolution, and with the incentive of my friend L., I set the goal of running the Gold Coast Marathon on the 3rd of July 2016. I then downloaded a nice app to help me train, kept loyal to its sessions and felt great about it.
Late in January, my marathon training programme said I had to run 12Km at a 7m/km pace… and so I did. My right knee had already told me that after 5-6Km he wasn’t alright and could use a bit of a rest, but as always, I decided to ignore it and carry on, bravely as a stubborn child.
I did complete the 12Km run but the knee did not correspond and increased my doubts as to my capability to run the marathon. I don’t think I ever will, I don’t want to risk a permanent injury – I still love playing my football and walking after all.
This situation really got me thinking about something I’ve been reading from both Leo Babauta and J.F.M from The Minimalists – LIVE WITHOUT GOALS. Sounds odd, very odd at first and doesn’t make much sense but the more I think about it the more it starts to seem right.
They claim that setting up goals is setting up the possibility of failure, the possibility of under-achieving or accomplishing but it being and feeling like ephemeral success. Both agree that living without goals doesn’t mean to do nothing, not at all, it means to do but not with an end in mind or time-frame. Since adopting this no-goal attitude, they claim that they have never been so productive and that their work has taken incredible directions.
Allow yourself to get lost, take unplanned turns and find new and exciting things along the way. If I had not the marathon goal, I would still be running but not be tied to the 12 Km, nor feel failure when I couldn’t do it. I would run for the sake of running and once I felt the sting in the knee, do some push-ups, take a look around, or just stop and smell the roses. All in all I’m still finding the best approach to this “no goal” attitude, but am really curious about it.
The goal of running a marathon seems now unattainable and I feel bad about it… shit, I feel extremely upset and I shouldn’t – all this exercise I’ve been doing has put me in great shape. I feel healthy, strong and lighter (lost 16kg since September 2015 when I came back from Portugal with 109Kg) and I shouldn’t feel bad. I even ran 12Km in one go, for the first time ever.
One other thing that has got me thinking are Catarina’s words on our way to Noosa yesterday. “Good and bad things do not happen to us, we are the ones who label them as such and hence that label will determine how we feel about them”. Granted, tragedies do happen and are exactly that, tragedies. The death of a child is a tragedy it is not something unclassifiable that just happened, it’s a horrible tragedy.
A flat tyre, a bad haircut, lack of hot water, rain on the day of your bbq, etc are not bad things, we just choose to name them as such and hence the ‘energy’ we get from it and its recollection is not good. Not being able to run the marathon was a small dent to my ego, nothing else, but not anymore.
I don’t think I will ever run a marathon and that’s fine, the time I would have spent preparing for it will be used in new and different experiences, the possibilities are endless. I have trained for it but didn’t get to do it and that’s just fine.
Although, while Benfica losing two European club finals 2 years in a row is not a tragedy, it’s fucken heartbreaking!!