One Man's Fitness Fitness Adventures and Musings

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.

I read a book, not a big suprise. I read a novel about running, okay a little unusual. I have seen Once a Runner a few times in the book store and I have picked it up and put it down. I was finally intrigued enough to buy it. The book itself has an interesting story. It was out of print but the demand for it reached a critical mass the the publisher put it back on the shelves.

The story itself is simple enough a college runner is quite simply trying to break the 4:00 barrier and to hopefully break a world record. A secret lofty goal and an impressive public one. I got the point of the book pretty early on. The book is about the cost of dreams and running can be seen as a metaphor for what ever your dreams are. If you want to succeed you have to give everything you have to achieve them. For our main character in the book he comes to realize that to achieve greatness he has to foresake everything else in order to achieve it. That is the cost, everything.

I found the book to be equal parts uplifting and grim. It is a triumph of the human spirit and at the same time a slap to those who think they can do it all. I think you can do it all, you just can't do it all well. Excellence equals sacrifice. We all on some level know this. I like this book and how often do you find a novel about running. Give it a try.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Sit at the Cross Roads

I believe that I sit at a cross roads in my life. Lately I have been looking back as much as looking forward and taking stock of not only who I am, an important endeavor, and how I got to be here. Recently, I was laid off for the second time since January. This was a hard thing for me to come to grips with, I have always been employed. This was since I was 16, always working. I never had an issue with work. It is an odd thing to realize that after putting myself through law school I have less job security than I did doing entry level jobs right out of high school. Odd, truly odd. But it makes you take stock of the reasons that you did things in the first place. The question becomes, why is it that I became a lawyer? How is it that I got to here? I do know one thing, I never wanted an ordinary life.

I know that I didn't go to law school to get a fancy job or a fancy title. I have always been possessed with a sense of justice. It has always been important to me to help people. I think I saw law school as an opportunity to have my life mean more than just collecting a paycheck. More than just showing up. I looked at it as an opportunity to be able to bring my principles into my work life and define my life on my own terms. When I say it that way it sounds pretty terrific. So here I am, a man of deep principle faced with a big decision. I can either go back to the corporate side of law and potentially look at the same soul crushing work or I can make a change. I think I have begun this transition already. However, this is a bit of a mission statement. I am now cutting ties and accepting responsibility for my own security. Truth be told in the legal profession the only security you have is what you give yourself.

So I will be from this point, on for good or ill, a solo attorney. It is going to be a tough road but I think I will have more satisfaction in my life as a result. As I go I have to just remind myself of what is truly important and repeat my mantra, "honor first". Because, in the end how we live is far more important that what we accumulate in life. For me it is "honor first", the journey is far more important than the destination. Here is a toast to the journey, I hope it is interesting.

An Update

Has it been a month, I suppose it has. In that time I have finally picked up my running to 15 miles a week for two weeks in a row. I have been to my martial arts class and got seriously clawed up by a training partner who doesn't seem to understand the wisdom of the finger nail clipper. When doing grabs and locks you have to respect your training partners and that means clipping the nails to avoid unnecessary injury to your partners.

I have been excited over my running as of late. I was able to put in a six mile effort one day last week and that has been my longest run of the year. This is simultaneously sad and exciting. Sad as I ran a marathon last year and exciting to finally get things back on track. Whew!!!

Here's to hoping for better things in the coming weeks.