Monday, June 8, 2015

A change in Perspective...

Pic from Rock 'n Roll Marathon Series

"I keep struggling with my perspective...trying to be honest with my assessment of my current "condition" (a 26.2 happening in two weeks that I haven't trained for as thoroughly as I'd have preferred) vs. my glass-half-full attitude (so what? I'm running this for fun, and I'm running it with friends!). Now I have a wonky foot.....the foot is feeling much better, but will it let me "run" 26.2 miles, even in the company of friends? I have had a lot of people tell me this week that I'm an inspiration to them...and that makes me smile. That's been my goal all inspire others with my drive & attitude (and not impress them with insane over-the-top mileage or excessive training). Somehow, I think I'll be OK."

That was a comment I made a few days ago to Wendy, in response to her blog about Perspective (give it a a read here).  I can appreciate Perspective, after all I am a self-professed art geek (and very proud of that label). Thinking about Perspective always takes me to my artsy side...

When I was much younger (middle school age), I learned a technique for not only drawing with single-point perspective, but also for seeing it.  We'd draw a straight horizontal line near the top of the paper, and put a dot near the center of the line. From the reference of that dot, the entire picture would be created. We could draw buildings, and use that dot to align a straight ("perfect") line for the bottom and top of said buildings.  We could create tall, short, wide, and narrow buildings (some with windows, if we preferred). As long as we aligned all the top and bottom lines to that dot, the composition would look near perfect.
An illustration of single-point perspective

One thing I observed on my own, is that by following this procedure, everything in the foreground looked much bigger than the objects in the background. As the buildings got closer to the dot on the horizon, they gradually got smaller...almost fading into nothing.

Cityscape sketch by Benny Lee
And, isn't that the case with life? We tend to see everything that is immediate as being so ominous, while the "stuff" in the distance doesn't seem as important. Even though the stuff in the distance is usually a goal or a destination we are working is usually so far off in the distance that we sometimes lose focus and just concentrate on the here and now.
pic from
So, in light of this artistic slant, what is my perspective on my other "geeky love," running? Well, I have a couple of big races on my horizon (the first of which is Grandma's Marathon, happening on June 20), and there has been a steady string of challenges front and center, looming in the foreground. 

I have spent most of my spring rehabbing my hamstrings, glutes, and piriformis. I have had to shift my training to focus not as much on mileage, but on my recovery and well being. Certainly not an ideal plan, but it has worked (for the most part).  This past week, as if my mileage wasn't already being challenged, I was paid an unexpected visit from a total stranger. Enter Plantar Fasciitis! Not the prettiest of pictures, huh!

Despite all of the obstacles that have found their way onto my path, I have been able to keep a pretty positive attitude. I take the 26.2 distance seriously, having done this twice before (albeit under much better circumstances). I am not afraid of running 26.2 miles, but am very much aware I will not be running those 26.2 miles as easily as I did the other two times when I was much better prepared to do so. Also, for this particular race, I'm using those miles more as a training run (did I mention there's also a 50K happening a mere four weeks after this race?) than as a once-and-done, give-it-all-I've-got effort. And, I am running this with several friends, who do not wish to "race" through the Grandma's Marathon course any faster than I do. 

I have a very different perspective on this marathon. As my endurance and confidence have grown, so has my maturity. My attitude also has evolved, and my ego is in check. Although I no longer "need" excessive mileage to prepare for a race (I huge avoid over-training like the plague), I do recognize my training has been less than ideal. I could pull out and just not show up (or possibly, if it would be allowed, maybe switch my registration to the half marathon)...but that is not in sync with me. My injuries (even this most recent one) are pretty much under control, so why not give this a go? I'd rather give it a (conservative) shot (and DNF) than never know if I could have done it.  

In her blog last week, Wendy (who also administers the Facebook page Taking the Long Way Home) said, "I'm going to keep running on the sunny side of the street." Those golden words have been repeating in my mind ever since I first read them. It's all about Perspective. I can also choose to run with the sun on my face, or I can go the opposite direction and follow my shadow. I can be shadowed by the obstacles currently blocking my view, or I can shift my perspective and (instead) focus on what's further down the in the distance (the finish line!).

So, that's my plan. I have not had a perfect training experience this spring, but I still have a strong endurance base, and I'll be in the company of friends. Grandma's route is advertised as a perfect BQ course...meaning it's fast and pretty flat. I also have heard that it has an overall downhill grade. Does it get any better than that?

What do you think? Will my endurance base be enough to sustain me? Stay tuned!

Have you ever done an event with the attitude of enjoying the experience instead of obsessing over the mechanics of getting to the finish line? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I"m not good at racing just to enjoy the experience. If I get in the lottery for Big Sur, tho, that is exactly what I plan on doing. The course is technically hard, so there would be no PR, but also what's the point? If I'm running on the Pacific coast, I want to take it all in. So there's that.

    Love your post and we should have planned on this topic together! Hopefully some day we'll run together, on the sunny side of the street! <3

    1. I can't wait to run with you!!!! (but for fun...cuz you'll kick my booty if we're racing) :-)

  2. I'll see you on June 20th for lots of fun, and smiles!! We will get through this race, I just know it!!!! Some people get far too caught up in racing and PR's that they lose the joy and excitement of the day. Hopefully we can share a few miles together, too! xo

    1. I'm excited for June 20th, and also hope to do some mileage with you :-)

  3. You have such a great attitude!! I am so not an artistic person, but I understand your perspective. Do you mind me asking what you did to "rehab" your glutes and piriformis? We are thinking my "IT band" issue may not be an IT band issue, but glutes and piriforms instead :/

    1. I thought my issue was IT band for a long time. It wasn't until I did some research that I realized it wasn't IT Band (I have never had any pain on the outside of my leg, which seems to be a major symptom). Recently, I was diagnosed as having hamstring tendonitis, and the piriformis was actually kind of aggravated from the hamstrings and not the cause. Anyways, my PT has had me doing lots of stretching of the hams and (believe it or not) the quads...if the quads are tight, your hamstrings get over-worked (I had no idea! My quads never hurt...apparently because they're being lazy LOL). I also have to do a lot of sideways stretching (knees bent, lying on my leg at a time, and both legs). Hope you're feeling better! I've been battling this stuff for several least it's kind of manageable, unlike the PF crap (but that has dramatically gotten better this week),