Thursday, June 2, 2011

Living the dream life

I have read a very amusing article written by a former runner and running shoes sales person.

He ran his first marathon in 3:20, a year later he was in the low 2:50s and ran 2:38 the following year.

In the article he wrote: “Thinking back I’m sure my time dropped so fast because I was rarely distracted from the task. I lived in a room in the Victorian flat, a bare existence, with a futon and a small television and a tattered copy of John L. Parker Jr.’s “Once a Runner,” the cult classic novel. I couldn’t afford a car and didn’t own a bike. I ate $3 monster burritos every day.

A running friend from England once dropped into town, and when I told him about how I lived and worked at a running shoe store making maybe $8 an hour, trained all the time and lived on rice, beef and beans, he looked at me with earnest jealousy and said: “You’re living the dream life.”

That’s me! I do not have a life, I live in an unfurnished apartment, sleep on an airmattress, have a tattered copy of “Running with the Buffaloes” and eat bread with butter and cheese all the time and I cannot afford a car. The only difference is that he had TV and I have a bike. I AM living the dream life!

Well, am I? As a runner and newly aspiring triathlete, yes, I am. I sleep, eat, work and train. I have no distractions in life. I can train whenever I want to and do not have to compromise for anyone or anything. I can have a laser-like focus. Which I believe is going to make me fast.

I love that life. I am happy. Well, I used to be until I realized that having friends can actually be fun and for that I have been a mess in past 2 months. But it seems that now I am getting back to my normal focused self again, which makes my life much easier and happier. But I digress, as usual.

I believe that it true that I can be a faster athlete only with a lot of focus. But it is scary somehow. Because if I can get fast only by not having other distractions in life, well, then what would happen if suddenly there were distractions in my life? I know that a lot of people are amazing athletes and they have jobs, families and all that. I kind of don’t think that I can do that- combine all those things. (For example, I was invited to BBQ on Friday night and then also on Saturday afternoon, but I have swim workout on Friday night. And I chose the BBQs. So I cannot swim on neither Friday nor move it to Saturday. I can do the swim on Friday morning but pool is crowded and I would have to get up at 5am, so no, I am not doing it. Sure, I won’t skip the workout, I will do it on Sunday but the fact that one small distraction can completely throw me off my schedule is scary.) I do not have enough talent to be fast by just running a bit. I kind of feel that I must continue “living my dream life” if I want to improve! But I guess that eventually I would have to buy some furniture, a real bed and a car and then I will not be able to run fast anymore.

I am not a pro athlete and never will be one so you might ask what my deal is. I just want to try to be as fast as I can be.

I wonder how people do that. How they combine friends, families with their training. It amazes me. Maybe it is just that those athletes have much more talent that I do and thus they do not have to “live the dream life” to be fast. I do not know.

But of course, I will not know for sure whether I can combine those things until I try. Maybe I can. It is probably only a matter of time management and routine. Because my distractions now are very rare and unpredictable they always throw off my whole routine. Maybe if my distractions were less chaotic and more predictable (like get a child to day care every day at 8am, cook dinner for family at 6pm, go out to movies with friends on Wednesday nights) and thus more stereotypical, then maybe it would work for me.

As you can see I am little bored or something...Maybe I should get some distractions!


  1. Really interesting post. I think some people possess the ability to perform athletically while having a full work/social/etc schedule, and others can't. I'm definitely the latter. My first year out of school, I didn't know many people in the area and was able to train hard...and I ran the best in my life. I do somewhat miss that amazing year. But I think I've transitioned into that 'other' life - of being social, doing well at work, getting 'distracted' - and my running has certainly suffered. But, I find that I don't the past, I would've been freaking out...but it's I don't care so much. Guess I'm losing my edge! Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  2. Sometimes I wonder, why wasn't I focused like that in college? I wasn't not a very social person in college thus I could have had all my focus on school and running but I somehow did not. I guess you were the same, weren't you? It probably had something to do with our coach. I just didn't had my heart in it because I wasn't allowed to do what I wanted to do. Now I basically do what coach L wanted me to do (except for staynig away from bad Bs, haha) but this time it was my decision to become a distance not hers thus my attitude is different. Sometimes I regret that I wasn't into it at school, but most of the time I don't care.

  3. was the coach. In college, I resented the negativity and the negative way "rules" were presented. When out on my own, though, I was running purely for myself, and that made it easier for me to apply those "rules" to myself.