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? ;)