The Results Committee

I ran 3 miles this morning. I ran slowly. I looked at my watch once or twice, but only reflexively. I ran one of my regular routes, and I didn’t try very hard, and it went well. I stopped at the end to retrieve a bag of dog shit I’d left there at the beginning of the run, because that’s the right thing to do.

The dog and I climbed back in the car at the trail head, and he drooled appreciatively on my shoulder, and I didn’t let that bother me.

My friend P says he can do anything in his life, as long as he stays off the results committee.. Once you start seeking specific results, he says, credit for what you’ve done, praise, glory, etc., you lose track of why you do what you do and compromise your goals in service of other people’s desires or the inflation of your own ego.

“I have no business meddling in my own life,” he says. People’s eyes cross when he says it, which I enjoy.

The point is, we can all only do what’s in front of us to do, and maybe it’s ultimately for someone else or no one else to do decide whether it’s good enough. On some level, we need to care. Are we holding up our end of the deal? Are we doing our part? Those are questions worth asking.

The rest is probably noise, and it only gets in the way of doing.

My watch is on the Results Committee. It says I was slow. That’s a pretty bold statement for a passenger, and while I’m vaguely interested in what my watch says, it’s only so I can know what reality is. Now that I type the words, I see it’s probably not worth knowing.

My family is on the Results Committee. If I run 20 miles and I’m an asshole, I get no medals. If I take them to the woods, and I’m an asshole, I don’t get ice cream on the way home. It doesn’t matter what I do, if I’m not a good dad and husband, the Results Committee lets me know. It’s not for me to question, just to accept.

My friends are there too. Am I a good companion in the woods? Am I respectful and encouraging? This is what matters.

So now I’m maybe on the road to recovery, at least I think that’s where this road leads. I have a pile of physical therapy and massage appointments. I have tentative plans to do tentative runs and slow rides in between. I’m going to do those things and try to stay off the results committee. I have no business meddling in my own life.

2 thoughts on “The Results Committee

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  1. I’ve made this crazy change in my running over the past few months. I keep all my runs below my ventilatory heart rate, or in layperson’s terms, able to hold a conversation (not that I run with anybody). I’m loving my runs now like I haven’t in years. Their relaxing and afterwards I still have energy to do other stuff with my weekend. It’s like I’ve discovered the secret to the universe. The only result I’m looking for is joy.

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    1. Jeff, running more slowly is a winning move. As my friends and I started doing longer and longer trail runs, it was a necessity. Now, I run a mix of paces, and I enjoy them all. It’s amazing how a base built on slow runs can produce some thrilling fast runs occasionally.

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