How many pairs of trainers do you have? For me there are always at least four; work, distance, speed and trial. In reality it may be one or two more.
Lets get this straight I’m an average runner, top brand trainers make little or no difference to my performance. Not that I am bothered about PB’s anymore. There used to be a time when I would be annoyed for not matching or bettering a time, especially if I had trained hard. Perhaps a PB is a form of possession.
In 2009 I entered the Brentwood Half-marathon and my target was to be last. This was after an operational tour of Iraq where my possessions were Army issue uniform, that all fitted in a kit bag. My only luxury items were running kit, clippers and slippers. I did not miss the possessions left behind and never dreamt of them. And I was extremely happy.
All my life I had wanted nice things especially petrol powered. My ambition was to own a MV Augusta and a Ferrari. From the age of 14 I worked and bought things. The more I earned the more things I bought. And before you knew it I had a house and garage full of things. 7- Motorbikes and 3-Cars at my most greedy.
Before setting off for Iraq my 95-yo Dad stated we would never see each other again. As he told me every week he was dying I didn’t take much notice. My appointment was demanding and at times highly stressful. This might sound strange but when things were fired at us security was higher priority and less pressure than work. Just as getting to critical time and end-of-tour my Dad kept his promise and died. The fellow officer who took me aside to break the news was tearful. She was a bit shocked when I explained that I’m not flying home that night as I had work to do. My siblings had everything in hand. The funeral was not for 10-days so I had 8 before needed to set off. The day after the funeral I flew back to finish the job and handover in good order to high praise from my Chain of Command.
Back in the UK on leave I had the job of clearing my Dad’s house. He kept everything. To give you an idea he had every BBC Radio and TV licences from 1936 onwards. Many of what were his prized possessions were total junk but they were all precious to him. I had real trouble binning things but I did.
Back in my nice home with nice things they no longer made me happy. Took a bit of time to register but my ambition became to have less. The start point was humility. I thrived on achievement so I was going to finish last in a race. At Brentwood I started at the back. I ran in Army boots and carried 30lb rucksack. Not at any time did I pass anyone. I supported a fellow runner to the finish in 3:03 my slowest half ever.
I failed, somehow I finished second from last. Next time fear of failure. Until then I leave you with quote by Dada Vaswani “Happiness; true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy”.