Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Imagination and Logic

Einstein said "Logic will take you from point A to point B. Imagination will take you everywhere." It was almost something that went up on my wall but instead I chose another Einsten quote (with that said, an intelligent person who after some early morning wine felt the need to say I quote so many people and songs that I should just talk with quips and quotes and save some energy).

It doesn't take much logic or imagination to realize that the thoughts on here before events, whether they be medical or sports or speaking, have a trend to them and today's entry will be no exception. I'm getting ready to return to the Pocatello Marathon, flying out tomorrow for the 2nd time (and the 2nd marathon this year). I always feel inadequate to be the one giving out speeches or talking to cameras or reporters or phones/recorders; those are for people who have smooth skills for that. In fact, at a symposium I was at, I was asked to repeat something I had said during the Q&A section and I think that was the first (and last) time that I ever tried to talk directly to the camera and well I was horrible at it. It was put on twitter and it was heartbreaking (that's a joke) how no one favorited or retweeted it. So I've made it a point in speeches to be making eye contact with people between looking at my notes and to just be communicating with one person at a time (one time a really cute woman asked why I didn't look at her twice). There are sometimes nods to other people in speeches that make sense to everyone but others that do make sense but are honestly directed at only one person (okay let's be honest there are some references that seem oddly generic and general but that help me going back by taking me to a moment or a person who deserve so many nods that if I was actually nodding everytime I made one, I would seem like a bobblehead.)

I am humbled that Pocatello was kind enough to invite me back. I joke around that the reason I get invited to speak at events is because race organizers have heard I'm boring enough and that people need a good night's rest before a race to have optimal performance. But they were also the first race after the marathon where I spoke. I rewrite the speech each time, with some of the new experiences or thoughts that have come along the way worked in, some of the inevitable parts hopefully improved. But there have been simple things that I wonder how my logic or imagination missed them on my first descent down those opportunities. I've now started using pictures in all my talks that sit in the background. I was an "official" photographer for school publications for the better part of a decade so how did I miss that? The only reason I even started adding them was because a race specifically asked me to. I mean if you go back far enough to reading this blog, and if you don't it mentions that I went back and added pictures since all the original entries were text only. There's usually a dozen or so pictures in the speech and the audience is because if a picture is worth a thousand words,it distracts from my speeches (which are nowhere near 12,000 words long.) And I really do wonder why the invitations haven't stopped but if and when they do... well I'll be thankful and dare to dream that something I said was worthwhile.  Or at least the pictures caught their imagination.

So the speech has me nervous but it is just speaking right? But speaking from point A to point B, this is a point to point downhill marathon (downhill first half, mostly flat second half). I've never been a good downhill runner. People have thought it's because I am more hesitant on downhills since I"m used to having to pull back when running with a stroller since it wants to go faster than I could even without it (which is true, I really slow down on hills with a stroller). However, I was a bad downhill runner eveb in cross country where when racing this other student, it was questionable who was going to win and the question was usually answered if the course ended with the last hill being up or down (zero times did either of us cause an "upset" in that trend). I am nervous about the marathon because this is the least time I've ever trained for one with the triathlons and spartans I've been doing this summer. There are exactly zero races where I'm not trying to get a PR but this one has me more nervous than usual for those reasons. But if nothing else, I've done the course before and when you're descending something similar for the second time you're hoping you won't forget what your legs wouldn't quite forgive (this will be my 10th marathon but that downhill pounding last year was the most sore I've ever been after any with or without a stroller).

But I find comfort that I believe is real and not imagined,  some good things have come out of all this for people besides me and even those that I know. With the race about a week away (one week after a marathon again), the brainpower 5k team, the scarecrows, is the biggest one we've ever assembled, currently at 53 people and I hit my fundraising goal of $2500 yesterday, with the donation that put me over the top coming from none other than Linda Santos, the lady who gave me the ring of hope that if I ever leave the bachelor lifestyle I'm supposed to propose with.

I'm not 100% sure of most things; people who are quite that certain of everything there are days I am jealous and days I have condolences for people for whom the world is that clear. So even as I try to improve life, running, speeches, parenting using imagination and/or logic, I still wonder if I'm headed in the wrong direction someways. But sometimes it's trying to do things a little different that gets you closer to having a clue. For the first time ever, there's no set playlist for a road race. I've got more than enough songs and the ipod is going to be on shuffle a quiet nod that sometimes life being random within a limited range of songs.  That's dreaming that the balance of logic and emotions represented in a playlist  is not a bad thing.. There are of course things that I would have never imagined like running a marathon with a stroller and thinking you'll have a win (but then again, there was the logic of the fact that I had been running longer and longer distances with a stroller). There are differences in training that I've taken up this summer that unless I'm doing a specifically timed run I've stopped wearing a watch and have no clue as to what I was running on those days. There are people who running is their passion, who need an exact mileage including warm ups and cool downs and uploading to the internet to see how their friends are doing, to keep up the motivation that keeps them going. To each his own, but to me, it has and will always be something, like a good kiss or a good meal or a good movie, that maybe if that moment is all you get, while you'd like it to last forever, you're glad to have it that day and dare to dream that it'll be there maybe tomorrow. And so to fall in love with running again, I don't know that I've eased up (it's hard to make that argument when I've hit or come close to PR's in almost every distance since that new approach; plus with Spartan training, I am in the best upper and therefore over all best shape of my life) but I've relaxed enough to not look at a watch and love it for what it is, a natural human instinct like holding hands or wanting to be held that starts at infancy and that we want to do it more comfortably or with the right person matters but that if you ever completely reject it... maybe that's a questionable decision.

So I take my daughter to school in 2nd grade where she's now independent enough to not need to be walked to class. She picked her outfit and the girl who has done races in skirts and seen me run in them for the leukemia and lymphoma society picked out a dress. And she told me about all the things she learned from some math and reading goals to how there are two things you're never supposed to ask a lady (how old she is or if she's pregnant; if you don't understand why well... you probably should work on both your logic and imagination). But we made bracelets in our spare time for each other and each of us also made one for someone special. Logic and imagination combine so well some days.

Neither logic or imagination should always win; where the balance lies I suppose to each of us but perhaps it's a sign of my misfitted brain but putting off a marathon to run brain surgery or to run one with a stroller, or for a guy who grew up not knowing his father to be raising a princess, it's exactly logical but it takes up the best parts of imagination. There was a recent article about how raising kids in the modern age is like a quarter of a million dollars and people shared it on various social media with commentary that said more about them than about the number in my perception but let me make this as a counter logical arguement, being dead is cheaper than being alive too. I guess that's why I like quotes by guys like Einstein who would be working on the theory of relativity but also ride his bike with his tongue sticking out. My doctors are all athletes and my friends kind enough to join a team that feeds the logic and imagination of brain research while running arbitrary distances at arbitrary speeds.

Along that line, I love the drawings and art that Kiana makes from the simple to ones that I simply don't understand... I don't know if she'll ever be Einstein and whether she becomes a janitor or president or somewhere in between, I hope she does so with passion and integrity.  But speaking of not being certain, one of the songs on this playlist is being honest about wondering whether you're actually going the wrong direction ( But I think for the vast majority of us (99.9%), it's better to be moving than to be sitting wondering forever. And the guy who quotes so many authors and runs to so many songs and other people heard something that I never knew. There's even a blog entry called a soundtrack of quiet desperation that talked about why I run with music so that I'm singing rather than doing what the full quote is:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau

So with both logic and imagination,I go to speak, to run, and to sing and hope that whenever happens on this race and in life that I find a playlist or at least a song that was pleasant enough to be mine and have been sung long before then.

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