|Christmas ad for Target?|
One of the things ultras allow all of us to do is to focus on the moment, but when it's over our day-to-day lives can seem less exciting, leading to craving for more adventure and success. So it made me think about how easily I move on from one race to the next and don't take in the experience afterwards, wanting the next 'hit' and challenge. After pretty much achieving my goals through the summer at the Grand Slam, I've felt a little empty and drained partly because of this factor (I don't like sitting around doing little exercise).
In our modern lives we're constantly measured and forced to come up with goals - just think of your last appraisal meeting at work. However, this has become second nature to do this with all aspects of our lives. I know I certainly do, whether it's a time goal in a marathon, a placing in an ultra or business goals for my coaching, we're typically very goal-oriented creatures, especially 'type A' runners. This is the way we humans drive ourselves on to improve, but it can also mean that we don't appreciate our successes because we immediately look to the next target. It can also affect our happiness because this mentality can lead to never being satisfied and always wanting more. It's why a generally rich country like the US is filled with affluent people who live beyond their means and rack up massive credit card debits. We always want more and there's nothing wrong with that as long as we also enjoy the ride along the way to our objectives.
It's worth stepping back and bearing this in mind, especially around the end of the year after the bulk of the running season is over. Whether your goals this year were to finish races under the cut-offs, earn a buckle of a certain color or something nearer the front of the field, take in the positives from your races this year and don't be in too much of a rush to think about the next one. There's plenty of time to build that passion for the next focus event, but it's only worthwhile if you can enjoy each of your achievements as they happen.