My sanity may be questionable. I got up at 4:45 AM this morning, got dressed, jumped in my car and drove 80 miles to run eight fast miles with my running club. My running club is awesome and there isn’t anything quite like it in my new locale, so I commute Saturday mornings to run. At 5:30 on a Saturday morning, in the spring, there is virtually no traffic between the north San Francisco bay area where I live and Sacramento, where I run. Wintertime is another story, with snowboarders and skiers all heading towards the Sierras, but though there are many of them, they tend to be very efficient drivers. Today? It was a breeze! A nice consistent speed between ten and fifteen miles in excess of the speed limit. My highway motto is “I just want to do 72”, sort of a variation of Sammy Hagar’s “I can’t drive 55”.
After my run, and three delicious street tacos for lunch, I headed back home. Westbound. Late morning. Things were looking really good, we were all doing about 72 miles per hour, or so. I’m just happy. Blissful, even. Full of endorphins from my run, sunroof slanted, music on and I am singing at the top of my lungs. I do love to drive when thing are going my way! Then, it happened. Brake lights. We all came to an abrupt halt, then crept along for a bit, and then we were all back up to speed. Then brake lights, an abrupt halt, creeping, then back up to speed. This cycle was repeated for most of the 80-mile drive. I was still singing at the top of my lungs, but there were explicatives being mixed in here and there. I just wanted to go! There was no good reason for the slowing, no wrecks or stalled cars, no cops, no cows on the highway, nothing that could explain the behavior of the traffic. At least the last time I made the same drive westward and we all came to a screeching halt it was for a good, well, actually, an awful reason. A truck driver choked on something he was eating, blacked out and took out a BMW, killing the occupants, and mangled a couple of other cars. All lanes of the highway, in both directions, were closed. It took me two hours to go ten miles to the detour, where we were rerouted around the charred remains of the big rig and the BMW. It was gruesome, but a really valid reason for halted traffic on an interstate. I get a little claustrophobic when stuck in lanes and lanes of traffic for hours on end. Just a little cray cray. I just want to go!
Yes, I am one of those people you see in the rear view mirror gesturing, urgently, but politely (I don’t use the one finger salute, ever, I have a story about that, for another day). I really just want to go! I like moving forward quickly and efficiently. I will gladly pull to a lane to the right to let a faster car pass, and I appreciate the same courtesy from other drivers in my way. My ideal day driving is one where I can, like a bicyclist, maintain my cadence, or speed, unimpeded. I just want to go!
My habits and preferences driving are very much indicative of my general attitude in life. I just want to go! I am a very high energy, highly motivated individual and anything that slows or impedes progress will make me a little cray cray. This applies to all things, great and small. Fixing dinner to career paths. Doing dishes to training for a marathon. If you’ve read any of my material, you already know my philosophy on wasted or squandered time; it is a crime and a sin, in my eyes.
Everything I approach in life is with a “let’s do this!” kind of attitude. As an example, when I started the job I currently have, training accountants how to use specialized software to help them organize their workpapers and financial data, I was expected to learn to teach the “core” group of classes our team teaches. Our team teaches a total of about thirty different sessions, the core consists of maybe six or eight classes. Every time an opportunity came up to learn a new session, or when a brand new session was added to our curriculum, I would request to be one of the instructors. I would tell my manager, in these exact words “bring it”. Of the thirty classes we teach, I am the only person on our team that can competently perform twenty-nine of them, and if I had to teach the thirtieth one, I could be ready to do it by the end of this week. That may explain a little bit about my nature. I just want to go!
I just started running about a year ago. At the beginning of 2012, I was contemplating the feeling of freedom. I was emerging from a time in my life where I felt imprisoned by certain circumstances and I wanted to do things that would make me feel free until I was physically able to free myself of those binding, imprisoning circumstances. I thought about being a kid, I always remember the feeling of freedom as a child, at recess, running around the playground. Remember, as a kid, you ran everywhere. Ok, I did. Truthfully, I usually galloped; I was one of those horse crazy girls. Three things came to mind that I felt represented a similar feeling of freedom, and, ironically, there were all three things I felt I really sucked at. Dancing. Singing. Running. And those became my goals for 2012.
I took some salsa, tango and merengue dance classes. I became proficient enough to really enjoy it! I couldn’t find any singing lessons that were affordable that would work well with my work travel schedule, so I bought a DVD/CD series on learning to sing and, admittedly, I still suck, but I’m still trying. Running. I joined a running club on the recommendation of a good friend. I hadn’t run since junior high, that I can remember, anyway. Parts of high school and college are a little blurry, but if I ran, I don’t think it was far, or very pretty. The first day with the running club we were asked to run a mile to see what pace group we’d fit into. I’d been doing a lot of cardio at the gym, but I decided I’d take it a little easy. I didn’t want to be placed in a pace group that would kill me mile two! I ran the mile, without walking once, and finished at just about the time I figured I would. I was placed into a pace group and the following week I ran with them. It was excruciating! We run on a very busy multi-use trail; cyclists, runners, walkers, strollers, dogs, horses. The cyclists are murderous, rogue gangs of high-speed killers when you are a person jogging along on the shoulder! Terrifying! Since there are so many folks using the trail, we run two abreast in groups numbering anywhere from eight to maybe twenty, depending on attendance. We look very much like soldiers in a running exercise, minus carrying rifles. Our pace is monitored using expensive, sophisticated GPS watches. I could’ve walked faster. We weren’t running, I would call it more of a shuffling. But we only ran a few miles and the prospect of piling more miles on intimidated me a bit, so I stuck with the group for a few more weeks. Nope. I just wanted to go! I was getting kind of cray cray shuffling along with theses folks. I promoted myself another thirty seconds. Then another. I jumped to a whole different color group and finished the training season a full minute faster per mile than I’d been placed. But we were still shuffling. I competed in my first half marathon a few months later and ran the entire 13.1 miles a full one and a half minutes faster than the pace I had been training at. This season, I’m running with that pace group and have sights on jumping another color group for next season. I just want to go! Farther, and faster! You see how I am?
So how does my need to just go apply to my evolution? Simple, I am driven in all I endeavor to do. Not by money, not for prizes, not for notoriety. Just for the sense that I am improving myself in ways I consider meaningful. My free time is scarce, so I try to take on only those endeavors I think will provide me the best avenue for growth, for learning, for development, for improvement. Evolution. I just want to go. What could this possibly have to do with you? With your evolution? How am I trying to inspire you by telling you that slow drivers and shuffling runners make me cray cray?
I guess my point here is, with time being of limited supply, and more in this world to accomplish, to try, to learn, to experience than we can even list in a lifetime, let alone do, we really need to focus on what endeavors are meaningful to us, personally, and then just go. Any time you allow to go fallow, time that is idle or wasted, squandered, is time that could be used in an effort to evolve. Any effort we make to evolve into a stronger, happier, more balanced person is worthwhile. The trick is deciding which avenue to take when there are so many. Which interstate, which pathway will open up before us and let us just go?