Week 8 – true

This above all: to thine own self be true (Shakespeare; Hamlet Act 1, Scene 3, 78-82)

A lot of people ask me directly or indirectly why I run – in particular, why I want to run an ultra marathon.

In the end it comes down to how I feel about myself. Yes, I am trying to raise much-needed funds for Wildlife Victoria, who do amazing work, and rely solely on private donations to fund their work (thank you to all who have supported WV through donations via my Everyday Hero fundraising page  – it is greatly appreciated). However, this is also a justification – something allowing me to run a distance that some people can’t comprehend riding at times let alone running.

So why do I want to:

  • put my body through the pain it inevitably goes through
  • place time pressures on my personal commitments outside running and
  • spend a fortune on running gear and masseur/osteo appointments (!!)

for one moment on one day in August?

Because in the end running is something that makes me feel good about myself. Actually, any intense sporting activity does – boxing, MMA, Zuu to name some others.

But running is different. Running is my personal time.

I do not compete with anyone else or share that space with anyone else. It is all me and whatever is going on in my head and heart. It is where I often toss around ideas, hear and conceive poetry, come up with a new angle on a work problem, write a draft of a section of my masters thesis, and sit with the silence that comes with the footfall and my breathing. I feel good about myself at the end of a run, regardless of how quickly I did it or how long it was.

It is the time in the day when I am most true to myself.

Quote from Polonius to Laertes from Hamlet

source: Bryan Costin via Flickr

In Hamlet, Polonius is not really trying to give Laertes some tree-hugging new-age advice (which is how this line is often interpreted). The more Elizabethan interpretation sits more with not doing things that wound your self-image. So he was telling Laertes to ‘look after number one’ (as my grandmother used to say).

When I was a child my grandfather gave me the book ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ by George Samuel Clason. The essence of the book is that when you get paid, you should pay yourself first above all others, and, from memory, that the payment should be 10% of the salary received. Looking back as an adult I see this as more of a metaphor for the investment we make in ourselves, whether that be through education, career advancement, personal challenges, or whatever helps us to grow.

Running is a personal investment in me.

Seeking to stretch myself in that area by aiming for an ultra is akin to someone taking a short course in a new subject area or looking for a new job with only 75% of the job criteria in place.

I believe I can do it and will stay true to myself.

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8 Responses to Week 8 – true

  1. Stacey D says:

    I really like this post, Di – I feel like I am now at the point now in my running where I have discovered the joy of the experience and enjoying doing something just for me 🙂 I love that is something I want to do, not have to do – and so I found myself getting up at 6.30am in Perth on a Sunday morning holiday and looking forward to 14km of beautiful views of the Swan River and some time to think/reflect. Keep up the great work – you are continually an inspiration for my running journey 🙂

    • ultraprimed says:

      Your morning run in Perth sounds fantastic, Stacey. Beautiful city to do that in, so I can imagine what a special morning it would have been. Thanks for your support and encouragement as always my friend : )

  2. tcatt63 says:

    I really enjoy the story behind the story. Great post!

  3. Carol says:

    Oh you make sooooo much sense. I am feeling the same. It’s complete and utter me time. Plus I love the feeling after the run. That sense of satisfaction that I did it. I wrote you a little bit ago that I had hit the 5km mark in my running and was over the moon. Well as of last Friday my best longest distance without stopping has reached 7.8 km. I’m now entered into the 8km Mothers Day Classic so am working towards that. And I hope you don’t feel this strange, but you posted a photograph once, the one of you running at the finish line at the MCG and you looked so fresh and alive after all that running. I think about that photo when I’m running (and exhausted and know I’m looking a bit frazzled, hair everywhere, eyes bulging!! you get my drift) and know one day I’ll get to the point that I look so alive and fresh like you at the end of a run. Just wanted you to know that (in I hope not a stalkerish way!!)

    Regards, Carol

    • ultraprimed says:

      Well done on the 7.8km, Carol! You will be able to do the MDC with no problems. I have found that as soon as I have done a run that is just over 3/4 of the distance of a goal race, I end up being able to do the distance of the race with no problems. I am planning to run the MDC as well, so might see you there amidst the madding crowd!
      Regarding your visualisation. I don’t think that is strange, and feel honoured. : )

      • Carol says:

        8.3 km without stopping this morning. Now I know I have the 8ks in me! Yahooooo. I’m doing the MDC in Geelong. First time my mum will see me run. Nothing like it, even as old as we get, we still want to impress our mums! Thanks for the encouragement.

      • ultraprimed says:

        Nice work, Carol!! Big thumbs up!

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