The process

The process

One of my mentors from my undergraduate days was the director at my school’s Leadership Institute. He was awesome for reasons too numerous to count, but one of the things that stood out to me then, as an impressionable college student—and something that has stayed with me many years since—is that Karl always said, “everything is a process.”

You don’t like how things are in the world? Work to change them, but remember, everything is a process.

You don’t know “what you want to be when you grow up”? Talk to some professionals in the field, take some intro classes, do some soul-searching, but don’t worry if you don’t get the answer overnight because everything is a process.

Hell, there’s a whole sub-field of study from my MA program that specifically examined the merits of teaching writing as an effin process-based system, rather than one more acutely focused on the product. (#nerd alert…)

Anyway, Karl’s words have stayed with me for as long as they have, through my first “real” job(s), and even now, through my marathon training, because he’s right: everything, everything is a freakin process.

For better or worse, I can’t get away from the omnipresent process.

I’ve found myself thinking about my running “process,” if you will, of late because today (March 3) marks the end of my first mesocycle following Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning plan as I train for the Eugene Marathon in late April.

Surely, any runner who has trained for a marathon will tell you that it’s not something you can do willy-nilly if you want to realize your goals. In other words, there is usually a process to follow, a proverbial journey of leaps and bounds, cutbacks and cooldowns, because you can’t plow through things with your blinders on, shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.

There needs to be some intentionality to what the hell you’re doing.

In so many words, it’s the journey, folks—not the destination (though, to be sure, depending on your perspective, one might drive the other).

What has become increasingly “interesting” to me (worthless word, I know, but hang in there) in this training cycle is that in many ways, I feel like I’m training for a marathon for the first time—not the 19th. I have come to this training plan refreshed, looking forward to seeing what I’m capable of, and perhaps the biggest area, to challenging myself mentally to get in line with what I am fairly certain (note the hedging) I’m physiologically capable of performing.

When I trained for my first marathon with Team in Training, each training run became a huge milestone in and of itself—my first double-digit run, my first half in training, my first half I raced, my first sweet 16, 20, whatever. I met each run with “will I be able to do this?,” not “how (fast, strong, hard, evenly-paced, negatively-split, and so on) can I rock this?,” as I’m trying to now.

I find it deeply intriguing to think about where I was as a runner when I started this good stuff back in 2007, compared to how I am now, and not at all in terms of speed but in terms of experience and, sounds strange to say, “running wisdom.”

How I think about running now probably couldn’t be more different than how I thought about it six years ago.

Erin’s recent post got me thinking about this topic because with race day fewer than two months away by now—hell, I can safely say my race is “next month” and not be exaggerating—I often wonder on the run which I like more, the training or the racing.

Am I more process- or product-driven?

I’m really not sure.

And I’m okay with that.

It’s probably part of the process…right?

What’s your story? How do you view your running– as a product or a process?

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