On the hot runs that we all are experiencing now we take every advantage to stay as cool as we can; a feat that is much harder than it sounds. We load down with as much water as we can pack on our fuel belts, wear moisture wicking shorts and shirts, and hats that take the seat off our brow. Anything we can do.
While running today along my local route that I call the Nature’s Way loop I caught myself doing something subconsciously that I am dubbing “chasing the shadows”. For those of you unfamiliar with Nature’s Way it starts basically at a small park called Bloomingdale East and follows a nice little circle through oak lined streets. At one part it just off to the left toward the local YMCA and ballparks, which are also nicely lined with trees. The trick is that the trees are one one side of the street, and there are parts that are broken up, so depending on the time of day you are running the shadows can be anywhere. What I was doing today was locating the shadiest portions and crossing streets here and there to stay under the shade as much as possible, even though it costs you a little bit in pace to wait for cars, or slowing down a bit to spend a little more time under the cool oaks. It makes for an easier run, at least in your mind.
Long runs being what they are, your mind tends to wander at some points, which mine was doing when I caught myself doing this. I started think about “chasing shadows” during a run, and then started thinking about how we do this in many aspects of our lives. We chase shadows in personal lives, trying to find the easiest way to live in order not to feel the uncomfortableness of the sun, or the heat. We choose the easiest path. We also do it in our work. We don’t go for the hardest job, or the one we really want, because we have bought into the belief that money is more important than liking what you do or enjoying your job …. so we leave positions that we love to make more money and end up hating every minute of the day.
So what’s the lesson? Do we stay uncomfortable in the heat, or seek the easiness of the shadows?
The last 7 months since being relieved of my job have been eye opening to me. I left a position that I loved, and with people I enjoyed working with, and took a job that offered more money and opportunity, and KNEW within two weeks that it was a mistake. But I gritted my teeth and did the best job I could, which went essentially unappreciated by the majority of people I worked with, and eventually costing me my job due to a mistake made three years ago in 2008 that was brought back to the forefront because of a childish grudge by another staff member. Normally someone that had done a good job and made huge improvements would be fought for in this situation, but I was terminated, for making a mistake MANY people at this company had made and NOT been terminated for.
So the lesson is this … make decisions that are good for your soul, not for your wallet. Money cannot be the main focus of your decision making, and it will not be any longer for me I assure you. There is nothing wrong with Chasing Shadows to give yourself a second wind, but eventually you have to get back out in the sun and learn how to survive in it. Surround yourself with those that support you and stand by you, and rid yourself of those that do not.
And ALWAYS hydrate …. with whatever you require to sustain yourself ….