Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happiness defined

Continuing on from my last post on the topic of happiness I thought I’d relate it to this post about my half marathon last Sunday.

I've heard happiness defined as "the experience of meaning and pleasure." That is, what you enjoy and what is important to you. When both factors come together you can be pretty sure that, that is "happiness."

As you might know already I think running is "important." The whys are numerous but you all know them at different levels in different patterns. After all if we didn't think running was important we wouldn’t keep these blogs would we?

Enjoyment is the other factor and although most of us, except for the insane and Tesso, rarely smile while training or racing we all love what we do and get pleasure out of it.

So did the experience of meaning and pleasure come together last Sunday to make me happy? Decidedly not!

I had high expectations in this race, always a mistake when looking for happiness. High expectations in life and running can often lead to disappointments. So in this case when I ran “badly” it undermined my sense of “meaning” that comes from my ability to keep improving in some way despite the obstacles whatever they are. Add to this bitterly cold winds that left me shaking for an hour after the race and an aggravated hamstring injury that had me stopping 3 times to walk a little and you can see that the enjoyment factor was sorely lacking.

Some might say that enjoyment doesn’t mean simply that everything is perfect, and I’d agree, I like pain but only if it doesn’t hurt ;) no I like pain if it is the sort that comes from entering a new level of fitness, but last Sundays pain mostly came from the hills, 4 long high ones, and the realization that I was totally unprepared to make a decent job of this race.

Although the finishing time of 1:35:20 seconds doesn’t seem too “bad” the only time I’ve ran slower for the half was 4 years ago on my very first half marathon race. I’m too young to be contemplating PW (personal worst’s.) And, as I sit here 7 weeks from my first Canberra marathon (is that math right, Aussie Eddie?) nursing a sore hamstring, 8 kilos above my “perfect running weight” and way under the fitness level I need, I’m a tad depressed.

No need to hide the razor blades yet. If there is one thing above all else that I love about this sport is that it offers one a chance of redemption. And this I will take.

Besides I vowed to cream Eddie my American running mate here, who handed me my head by running last Sunday, his very first half marathon, in 1:28:00! I wonder if I should have said that now. Still nothing like a friendly rivalry is there? ;)


  1. I am unsure of what to say Scott.

    I totally understand you and how you are feeling. Been there...felt that.

    However presently I am in a totally different boat.
    Due to the new addition to the family I am constantly in denial to myself that I am able to make a comeback to my running. I am desperate to get back out there but at each opportunity I am thwarted. Either I have a bad night with bub (honestly that is not too often) or the logistics of getting to training overwhelms me and I physically can't get there in time before work (due to taking bub to daycare etc).

    So on a day like today (TUESDAY) when I know all my bestest friends like Tesso are hard at their training at PCRG I am miserable because it is another day that I had to stay home and come to work without the benefit of running.
    What is the point for me of having a goal when I can't commit to doing the necessary training...so for now I am that outcast in the blog world.....a SOCIAL RUNNER.

    Happiness to me is running. I can feel pain and I can do a bad time...but I am out there running so I am happy. I cherish the opportunity to get out of the house for a run.

    I am sure that the injury will work itself out and that you will be fresh and trained (is that an oxymoron??) in time for Canberra to wow us all with your effort. Remember it is all about effort - not a time or a place.

    To this day I am still in awe of one of our Brisbane RUnning Buddies who finished a marathon stumbling...because she had a broken hip. I didn't even ask her time. I asked how the hell did she do it!!! How does someone persevere when all odds are against them....thats the guts and glory.

    **RANT OVER**
    real message: We love you Scott. Don't Worry, Be happy :)

  2. Cool, thanks for taking the time to write that Clairie. Yes, even in our times of so called trouble we can't lose sight of the fact that we are in a great position to start with.

    And also Clairie you have just reinforced what I truely believe that is, in the end "only kindness matters."

    Thanks for being kind;)

  3. Hey Scott, I don't always smile when racing or training. I remember back in November 1992 ... or was it December ...

    You gotta be happy just to be out there. Sure, it hurts sometimes and you don't always get the results you were after (and deserve!) but its way better than the alternative ie not running.

    1:35 may seem 'not bad' to you, but to dozens of my running buddies its a time they can only dream of. And most are much younger and much prettier than you. Well, maybe just a little bit prettier :-)

    Yes, you will redeem yourself. And how sweet is that redemption when you are going through a not so perfect patch.

    Canberra ... how much fun is the post party going to be!!!!

  4. Sounds like you need to get that hammie sorted quickly- hope you are getting some serious medical advice for it- you don't want to end up with those annoying injuries that follow on from one little one. Take care of yourself in the next few weeks- dig deep and chase down that Yank. I am sure you have time to drop 3 kilos with sensible eating before you start that magical carbo load. And I hope the weather is a little better in Canberra.

  5. Bloody hell Clairie! You don't even write that much on your blog!

    Don't worry about the races Scott. Good and bad ones come and go. It's the journey that defines happiness.

    Now... I think it's time to get a couple of thousand Yen on Aussie Eddie, Spody Choff (and maybe Too Far Tesso) to thrash you in Canberra!

  6. Wow this is all a bit too philosophical at this time of day. As Tesso said sone runners would only dream of a time like that - I'd just like to crack 2 hours. I remember when my husband asked me if I 'enjoyed' my most recent half (10 seconds after finishing and running with a lot of pain for the last 3 ks) my reply was that I hated it. He repeated that to a friend about twenty minutes later and I wondered where he's got that idea from, it wasn't too bad.

    Hopefully you can put this one in perspective and take msomething positive from it. As I was telling a student yesterday hard work and challenges build character!

  7. Now listen here young Scott, 1:35 is nothing to be sneezed at. You still have youth on your side and have plenty of opportunities ahead for PB's.

    Can you ever imgine Clairie be an outcast? Not in our world, hey Scott.

  8. Don't you hate it when you make a bet when feeling super good, and then things go bad? I suppose you could always bet on the other runners, then you win either way - if you win then you get the satisfaction, if they win you get the money!

    I feel your pain at the moment Scott. I seem to have lost my Mojo. I'm just thankful that I haven't got any races to tell me how much. But, reading your last two posts has reminded me that I run because I love it, not because I want to beat any specific time (though that is often nice!). I needed the reminder, thank you! I'm trying to get back to focusing on that enjoyment and hoping that the times just fall into place at some stage in the future.

    Hope you get your Mojo back soon!

    Oh, by the way, 1:35 is still a very good time - I think you're being a little hard on yourself! (how does the saying go, "I'm my own worst critic")

  9. What the other wiser, more experienced ones up ^^^ said!

    Having been injured more than I've run in the last two years, I've had my share of struggles and feeling depressed about this sport. But I keep coming back. And so will the good times, great races and you :-)

  10. At least it was a good training exercise for the marathon, despite finding it tough!

    Your mojo will return and I'll be cheering for you in Canberra, whatever the result as will lots of other blogging buddies!

  11. Well, there is really only one thing to do my friend, and that is get prepared. No amount of talk and analysis will substitute for hard work. Or in your case, an intelligent balance between work and recovery. You need to run below speeds and distances that aggravate the hamstring, but still get in as much as you can. If necessary, try to substitute some cross-training sessions for running. Sit down with pen and paper and plan out all your runs for the next seven weeks. 2P's words always ring in my ears, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail". Make a plan, stick to it. If it gets buggered up, make a new one.