Thursday, 2 December 2010


For nine of the past ten years, normal, for me, has been about dreaming about running for them...travelling to the venue cities...finishing the race...and starting all over again. This year, there has been no normal.

Long story short, lost a twelve year job in March, then spent much of the subsequent nine months dog-paddling in treacherous financial waters...until finally going under. That process included many sleepless nights, cold-sweat wake-ups at 2am, mad scramble job searches on line, a number of job interviews that did not pan out, all while angling for as many hours as I could snatch back among my big city radio newsroom colleagues. I could have survived quite nicely, thanks very much, without every one of those...except the latter.

During that time I have not run much. I have done a few stress-relief jogs, one official half marathon, and have utililized my gym membership to minimal advantage. I've rediscovered 12-15 pounds that I previously thought I'd vanquished...and placed them under my belt for safe keeping. 2010 has been mostly about bouncing off walls...with very little padding.

I have made a number of visits to this blog to make grand proclamations...among them, learning to swim, swearing off my running shoes in full-time favour of my Vibram Five Fingers, and committing to a return to the marathon world in Austin in February. I have stayed true to the VFF's plan, I rarely get my feet wet unless it's in a jacuzzi, and I'm not sure a trip to Austin is a wise investment, considering the current economy. I believe now those were attempts to inject some control...some "normal"...into an out-of-wack situation. I'm learning just how little real control I have.

The goal now is not necessarily to regain control, but to find the new normal in the madness, despite that madness, a way to be content with the changes that were forced upon me and mine. I have no idea to what degree running, marathons or otherwise, will fit into the new scheme. I only know I will not stop running altogether. And, I surely will NOT stop following the exploits of the hundreds...really, hundreds...of runners whom I count as friends, who've provided so much inspiration and support over the past decade.

The new normal, I think, is going to be about running like a kid again...maybe even leaving the Garmin at home once in a while. It's going to be about growing some of our own food in our new organic-only city-owned garden plot. It's going to be about becoming a "foodie" again, spending more time in the kitchen with my lovely wife. It's going to be about writing my marathon book.

In the past month or so I have posted on line, on Twitter and/or Facebook, at least three times, that I've been "trying" to get back into this running thing. Twice I've gotten the response that "there's no trying...there's just doing." I would like to state, without reservation, that I could NOT disagree more. I believe there are times in life when "try" is all we have. For those of you who've never been there...believe me...I will believe you, if and when you do. "Do" is great...but sometimes good is as good as it gets.

Gotta run!


alanna said...

I really loved ready this. It is a metaphor for many things and running is one. It also is about getting started after you thought you were going along smoothly. Thanks for this. I hope now that I am "trying" to truly become more focused in life, the application of this metaphor will encourage me.

Alanna G.
San Francisco

Forward Foot Strides said...

Good to see you're getting back out there :-).

Melissa Cunningham said...

totally agree with alanna!
oh and also,i want a signed autograph of your book when it comes out!!!!


just keep on truckin my friend,
where one road ends,another begins.....

Rachel said...

Michael, I applaud you. You have some pretty amazing accomplishments under your belt, and I'm sure there are more to come. Until then, do what you need to do to deal with life's curveballs. Running will always be there waiting : )

Cristiano said...

Great post, Michael. I believe that when we are "trying" we are "doing" something; i.e. tomorrow I'll try to run: I'm doing something different that stay in bed, didn't I?
An old italian ad (made by an english school) said: "try, try and try again: Rome wasn't build in a day".
So, let's try! :-)

Greetings from Italy

TokyoRacer said...

Normal? I always thought of you as an Abby Normal.
I'm all for your plan to put the fun back into running. And when you can't run..."Walk this way..."

...Barbie... said...

I love this. I love how real it is. Enjoy just running like a kid and spending time with your wife! It really is the little things that make life grand...

Anonymous said...

I could definitely relate to a lot of what you said in this post. I've gotten derailed by difficult life circumstances, too, and I've also flailed around making new projects and commitments, trying to normalize what seems chaotic and out of control.

I hope your new approach serves you well, and that things start looking up!

Michelle said...

Be strong, Mike. I'm sure it'll get better. I read this quote and got stucked in my head: "Life is like running a marathon." I find this so true. Remember those times when you felt like you don't have any steam left to continue but instead of quitting, you dig deeper and power through until you cross the finish line. Dig deep, Mike. Don't give up!

Chris said...

I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures in Janathon.