Thursday, January 26, 2012

It Sucks I Took So Long to Discover Myself

Photo: caddymob, Flickr Creative Commons

I've been thinking about organizing a local 5k race for a year now. Part of it is just that I love running and there's something about running a formal event that improves the experience. Another part of it was that there are no truly local runs where I live. There's a fall event in the next county over, an event I will most definitely run every year from now on, but not one in my on back yard, and there should be.

Despite never actually seeing anyone else out for a run on on the bike when I'm out on my sessions, I know those people exist. When I called the local swim team coach about getting a key to the local covered and heated pool (something our county didn't even have two or three years ago), I found out there were even other local triathletes who are active in town. The farmer who leases my parents' fields even talked to my dad about getting in touch with me because he runs too. These people exist. It'd be awesome to get them all in the same place and running in the same direction.

Then this week my principal sent out an e-mail announcing a 5k in a little more than a month that the swim team is hosting. My first response was all like "Yay!" and my second response was all like "Dammit!"

I wasn't upset about being beaten to my idea. Seriously. I just wanted a local event and didn't mind being the guy who started it. I was happy someone was organizing this even if I weren't the one in charge. I was pissed because it was set for the one weekend in the next few months that I wouldn't actually be in town since I would be on the coast being sucked dry by sand gnats at a high school tennis tournament.

Didn't these people know that I and the runner in this town. Shouldn't they know to make sure my schedule allowed for running the event before they set their date? How dare they fail to consult with me, this rinky-dink town's premier distance runner and triathlete, before setting anything in stone.

Of course, I know this isn't true. There's a very good chance I'm not even close to the fastest middle to long distance runner in this town. In fact, I'd be willing to put money on the fact that I'm not the best. It's just that never actually seeing any of these other people has convinced my lizard brain otherwise. Be assured, my rational brain is very much aware of my limitations. Lizard brain is just an asshole.

After a few brief seconds of annoyance, I decided to help out with the organization of the event instead of being pissy about not be able to run. (I actually briefly considered getting up REALLY early the day of the race, driving home, running the race, and then driving back to the tournament, before realizing almost instantly that that was a ridiculously stupid idea, in part because I am actually legally obligated to remain with the tennis players at all times during a school sanctioned trip. There were other reasons too.)

So I contacted the teacher in the school who was one of the organizers and asked to offer my services. I got them set up on to accept online registration. I posted links to the event in several places online and e-mailed people at all of the regional running clubs about the event. I spent two days e-mailing back and forth with the other teacher to get details for the listing and to iron out ideas for the event. I really want this thing to be a success. If it is, well, I'm organizing one for the fall. If it fails for reasons outside of my promotion of the event, I may organize a fall event anyway. If no one shows up, I'll probably pass.

But that's not even the point of this post. The point of this post is that somehow all of this re-energized me. I showed up at tennis practice yesterday with a spring in my step and an actual desire to be there. Something happened last year that just completely drained my passion for coaching the team and it's just been another chore, but yesterday, I was back to enjoying myself and working on getting the lower-level players to improve their game. At some point I realized that it was the promotion of the even that I had gotten me feeling this way.

I should have known. Back when I lived nearer Atlanta, I organized a couple of bus tours of Atlanta beer spots. The first trip was a huge success. Full bus. Seemingly happy participants. The brewpubs and breweries were perfectly happy to host us again the next year. I didn't make as much money for me and the charity as I had hoped, but I didn't go in the hole or anything. It was a win, even though it had been a ton of work. I did it again the next year but made the mistake of waiting too late to start organizing it and I didn't have the turnout needed to make it worth while. Not long after, I quit the job that made organizing that stuff easy and I stopped doing the event. I never should have. I actually enjoy the work of organizing and publicizing events.

This sucks because my first job after college was for a company that did this kind of stuff, not exactly for beer geeks and runners, but for companies doing conventions and the like, but I felt lost and never really got the hang of what they wanted or needed for me to do so I ended up moving back to newspapering. If I could have done the first brewpub tour while at that company and shown my boss what I could do, maybe I could have found a place with them, or at least a recommendation letter for another company who needed someone to do what I could do.

But, c'est la vie. I've finally started to be okay with where I ended up. Just wait. Another ten years and I'll be one of those assholes talking about how if you just let it, things will always work out on their own. Of course, that's all a bunch of bullshit. The truth is that eventually enough of your dreams fade away so you can forget them and be happy. The end result's still the same, of course.


Sid said...

"The truth is that eventually enough of your dreams fade away so you can forget them and be happy."
Couldn't agree more. They do "fade". They just slowly disappear and become "insignificant" and somehow this fading doesn't even seem depressing. It's just LIFE.

Julie said...

I hope it works out for you! Let me know if you need anything support-wise.

Courtney said...

That's very cool. Organizing events can be stressful but super rewarding if they end up going well. Maybe we'll even drive down there for a 5K in your area if you organize one, just to support you.