Monday, February 11, 2008

Finding New Balance

I describe myself as a runner... but truth be told I ran very little in 2007.
I began running many years ago and set a number of goals for myself:
• I wanted to run a sub 3 hour marathon: and ran 2h57.
• I wanted to run an 84 minute half marathon and ran 84.04.
• I wanted to run 20 Two Oceans Marathons (a 56km run around the Cape Peninsula) and ran 21.
• And I wanted to run a clock-full of medals for the 90 km Comrades Marathon, and the clock is complete.

And somehow the will to get up in the morning to train evaporated. And the less I ran, the less I wanted to run. I lay in on those cold, wet winter mornings. I skipped the time trial sessions on a Tuesday afternoon, and I began to ignore the road races. Last year I only ran two races – the Bay to Bay relay (two legs of 15km each) and the Two Oceans half Marathon.

But turning Fifty last October was something of a wake-up call for me. I realised that I was deteriorating: I was overwhelmed by work, tense, grumpy, and generally sleeping badly. This culminated in a ripping head banging session with my Bishop, and me generally telling the institution to get knotted (but less politely put). I knew that I had lost my balance.

So I got back on the road.
And it was extremely hard. I found the five km route very far, and resorted to walking up the mountain at the 3 km marker (OK it is a bridge over the railway line). Every time I passed the grave yard at 4 km I made the same lame joke to myself that “I want to die right now”. I am also 10 kg over my running weight. And my knees hurt. And the old scuffed running shoes I use are past their sell-by date. But I was definitely not going to trudge along the road in shiny new shoes looking like a runner but puffing like a straggler.

And so I persevered. I have hauled these sore legs out of bed and got my feet into the damn shoes. I have cajoled this tired body into the road outside the house. And I have driven my protesting body along the railway line, left past the small business site, up and over the railway line, right past the derelict hotel, and up Victoria Street past the grave yard and home again. And on 30 January I did it at 6 mins per km without stopping.

Well today I wore a new pair of shoes. And they are wonderful – New Balance 1061. My knees did not hurt, I ran up and over the bridge, and I did not see even a single grave stone. Cliff Richard sang something about “40 Days to get back...”. Well today there are 39 days to go. Pray for me that I might be able to get back some semblance of fitness. Race day is on Easter Saturday, when I plan to run the 21km race. And then to keep running 5km a day through the winter so that I am fit for the Foot of Africa 21km in October. Who knows – perhaps I will try a longer run in 2009.

More importantly – pray that I might keep my balance in life. I need to Read, to Reflect on life, to wRite, to Ride my bike...and TO RUN.


Anonymous said...


I have two new pairs of running shoes, Nike Air Structure Triax. Silly first world market forces mean I paid £20 for each pair, as they are the year before last's leftovers. I had to buy two at that price...
So I'm back on the road too, and also very newly so.
I did a 5k on Saturday from the retreat centre where I was with 15 students, along a river on a trail through quite gritty industrial landscape, with the trees full of plastic bags from recent floods that would have washed me to eternity three weeks before.
Two big hills, one to the finish, and I remembered how running uniquely pushes me, and focuses me. My heart rate shot to 162 by the end, and I ran sub 5:30 per km on only my 3rd run.
I'm aiming to try for a place for London Marathon 2009.
My body marshals my soul.
When I am ill, I am pathetic.
When I exercise, the world makes sense, and the aches keep me grounded.
I took my kayak out on Sunday morning instead of going to communion. The river was my sacrament, though the drops landing on the deck in front of me froze instantly. 8kms with the same effect. Centering like nothing else I know.
But the thought does not leave me; what would become of my faith/prayer/life/perspective/optimism were I suddenly unable to do these things any more?
I don't like the obvious answer, knowing myself.....

With every good wish for the miles ahead.


Mev Dominee said...

My friend.

Just a comment to say : I'm still here. still reading your posts. Still thinking of you.

Thank you for your friendship, advice and caring.

Enjoy the shoes.

Enjoy that bike of yours , I'm SOOOOO jealous.



Eliza D Hunter said...

Hey, will be praying for you!
Balance is hard, i am struggling with the same thing, i think most of us do.

So thank you for sharing, my Mom always says i need to learn how to balance my life, and the more i hear about it, the more i see the need for it.

Go bless and enjoy the 5 R's



digitaldion (Dion Forster) said...

Hey Pete,

Thanks for this... I like NEW balance... It speaks of what I am facing... Some new balance.

I have climbed on my bicycle since December....

I have faced 4 years of imbalance, pressure, long hours, and not enough family time or free time.

In fact, if the truth be told, I have sometimes come to think that imbalance is how it is supposed to be.

So, here's to new balance!



rebecca said...

running. the bliss of running. I miss it. I'm in a phase in my life where running has to take a back burner; I will get back in it though.

When you're born to run; it stays in the blood it becomes part of a person's being.


Scout with the Cross said...

Just catching up on your blog. I did my first run for 3 months last night and it does help to bring you back into balance.

I also recognise the 10kgs.

I blame NEOC and a certain female Methodist Deacon who keeps you up drinking all night!