FINDING MY GOOD IDEA
It all started with a flight to Chicago to run the marathon with friends. I was reading the Newbie Chronicle: GOOD IDEA in Runner’s World (November 2012). After I read it, I didn’t think much of it. Except to think that I wish I had more GOOD IDEAS on runs. My runs are usually shared and any solo moments are filled with a medley of arguments that I replay so that my words magically become brilliant and the listener hangs on my every word, in full agreement of my point of view. That has been the extent of my GOOD IDEA during a run. And then I ran the Hartford Marathon. This long run distance would be run alone. Rachel was the only person I knew at the race and she would be running at a more brisk pace so I knew I would not have her for company. I had not run a marathon or other long run distance by myself in a few years, but I knew that to train for an ultra distance, I better get in the mileage and get them in solo.
Hartford was amazing for my head, ego and emotional self. I wanted to break 5 hours and I nailed a 4:32. This was by no means a PR, but I gave up my need for speed a long time ago when I unplugged my Garmin’s charger and packed it, along with the beast of a wrist device, in a box and did not look back. These days I record my runs using the Map My Run app on my iPhone and zip it up in a pocket. I don’t wear a watch so I’m not distracted by my performance on any kind of quantitative level. This has been incredibly freeing and on runs with friends, keeps the focus on our conversation and scenery.
During the Hartford Marathon, I spent most of those 4 plus hours brainstorming amazingly GOOD IDEAs, so good in fact that one of them is this blog you’re reading right now. I saw it develop as perfectly as though it already existed and once I got in front of my computer, I started this blog and have not stopped. Where does a GOOD IDEA come from? How does it evolve? How can one create an environment where the next GOOD IDEA evolves without much effort? For me, it was the marathon distance and recognizing my one GOOD IDEA (there were a few others) and allowing it to evolve into something concrete – this feels quite profound to me. I did notice that the more time passed after the end of the race, the less I thought my GOOD IDEA was in fact, actually good. If it were not for having so much time alone in my head, I might not have played out all the details with such vividness. I allowed my thoughts to play out both positive and negative scenarios; “would it feel narcissistic?” “Will it distract me from my real paying work?” “Do I actually have anything to say?” All valid questions and all received my attention, argument and support. Hopefully, my lips weren’t moving when I was having this brainstorming meeting as they are right now while I re-read this post.