Sunday, September 05, 2010

A hiding place where no one ever goes

I'm honoured to have been chosen to join Joe's dream road-relay team. It's probably beyond the bounds of cyber-friendship, but I'll ask my captain in advance if I can run the short and/or downhill legs. The requirement for hopping on board Joe's van was to answer an intriguing question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be? Before I answer the question, I'll offer six random readers the chance to ride in my van if they're brave enough to answer the same question. It takes a little manning-up to ride in a van that could be driving on the wrong side of the road. Let me know if you take on the challenge.

Now... changing one thing. Backwards time travel isn't possible, so I'm fortunate to be an optimist. I look forward to future possibilities. I might as well be creative with this question. My answer: I'd change my parents and I'd get a better (university) education. If I could choose my parents, I'd select Herb Elliott and Grete Waitz. A 15-year age gap, but possible. I'd have been born in 1975. That'd make me 35 years of age. I'd be in the twilight of my professional running career — preparing to race the marathon at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi. With parents like Herb and Grete I'd have been blessed with talent for running. I've always wondered what it's like to run with talent. How much easier is it?

The better education part of my answer is because it's something I really do miss. I was intelligent enough to go to university, but at the time, had my mind set on doing something that didn't require such an education. A well-rounded education, even if it seemingly serves no practical purpose (besides giving one a qualification and a high-paying career), provides knowledge of life and the world. There are things one just doesn't learn from the school of hard knocks.


speedygeoff said...

If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life, I'd become a dwarf. Then Strewth would think I was cute. Strewth thinks anything under three foot tall is cute.

Jog Blog said...

Interesting blog entry Ewen. Just two comments - (1) Talent or no talent 100% max effort = 100% max effort. I don't think it feels "easier" for the talented. It's just that the running results of the talented are faster for their effort. (2) It is never too late to go to uni and learning for its own sake is awesome. You could still do it.

Superflake said...

Stuffed around at school too much in class. Should have done better. 2. Not gotten out of the helicopter until the others moved over when I was heli-skiing and went off the cliff.
Jo Cowan is doing the half Ewen. Present hair colour is red so you should recognise her.

joe positive said...

if I could change one thing, I would make it so that my best friend hadn't killed himself 4 years ago. I know that doesn't really have anything to do with my running, or my career, but still that's what I would choose.

Joe Garland said...

Apropos to Jog Blog's point, I once raced against your putative mom (mum?) in a 10-miler and she was running quite hard and breathing quite loudly. Always struck me as a sign that the elite are not so much different from us. Only faster.

trailblazer777 said...

I would have taken the chance to get my sports science degree instead of just a leisure science degree (and believe me a university qualification does not automatically = a good career.). I would have taken the chance to try and go to the world Juniors as a racewalker in 1992 and put off going to university for a year. I would have networked more towards the end of university so as to increase my chances of getting a better job. Fact is you cant go back but you can go go on. So better to focus on what you can do now than what you could have done. better to celebrate and be happy about the good things in the past, and look towards the best possible outcomes for the future. All the best with the new challenge with Joes race. Herb and Grete hey how cool would that be to have them as parents. Agassi and Graf is a bit like that. Hewitt and Clijsters would have been interesting if it had gone ahead, Berdych and Safarova etc etc...
Moneghetti made an interesting comment on the subject of talent earlier this year at the camp I went to, cant remember it exactly but something about talent don't exist that much, but determination/effort will to win/succeed does.

trailblazer777 said...

Learning from mistakes and success in the past, to do better in the future. Always hard in a fallen, winding down world.

Runner Susan said...

I'd have invented that wind/solar powered vehicle that requires no natural gas - so no one would ever have to have a gas rig, well or radioactive waste dump in their back yard.

Girl In Motion said...

I LOVE this reply. Too funny! If you're going to change things, might as well go whole hog. Entertaining, for sure.

Girl In Motion said...

Meaning, your reply to the question, Ewen, lest a commenter thinks I'm commenting on one of their contributions.

TokyoRacer said...

After running in high school and the first two years of university, I didn't run consistently again until age 34. If I could go back, I would train really hard in my 20s. I think I could have been a pretty good (under 2:20 marathon) runner. Oh, and I would have bought a lot of Microsoft stock.

Samurai Running said...

You probably think I have it all and wouldn't change a thing, right Ewen?

But if I could ;)

I'd write a book, a best seller, a tome, titled.

"If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life....I'd change one hundred!"

By the way I also agree with "Jog Blog" like "Joe Garland" does but my University education didn't teach me enough to know what "Apropos" means ;)

And for those that don't know what a "tome" is... It's a large heavy book. I learnt that in "Readers Digest" not at University.

By the way, does Strewth also think "ET" is cute? It is, after all, under three feet tall ;)

Em said...

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up (still don't to be honest), so I indulged in an Arts degree and studied philosophy and don't regret it for a second.

What would I have changed?

that is not an easy question to answer

Kelley Flood said...

If I had to go back I would not change a thing. Otherwise Ewen I would never have met the lovely people in my life :)

Ewen said...

Thanks everyone for your replies. Looks like I might need two vans!

Spody, I'm sure Strewth thinks you're cute in spite of your height. I do.

Jog, that's true. 100% effort is the best we can do. The perfect age for uni is 20-something, but yes, it's never too late. Perhaps I'll learn when I retire.

Flake, skiing off a cliff is something they try to do these days ;) That'll make her easy to pick out - along with her running style.

Joe Positive, that's a great thing to change. Suicide is never painless.

Having read Scott Brown's comment, I'll go with "putative mum" Joe. She says it was cool she got to run with you and is sorry for breathing so loudly.

TB, some interesting changes there. I'd liked to have seen you at the World Juniors. Monna himself is talented, so it's hard for him to say. There is talent. Success also needs determination and will to win.

Susan, we'll all be driving those cars one day. I hope it's not too late.

Flo, thanks. It wasn't meant to be that funny ;) Some of the comments are pretty funny though.

Bob, yes, I can see you running 2:16 in your 20s. I would have invented Windows.

Scott, if I ever get an education, I'll teach you what "Apropos" means ;) Strewth thought the turtle we found on Saturday was cute, and that's under 3' tall. I'll ask her!

Em, it's not an easy answer. And if you don't come up with one, you're off the van!

Kelley, you're on the van!

Ali said...

If I could go back ... only knowing what I know now. Actually I don't know if I would change anything. But I would like to go back to my early twenties, and appreciate what it feels like, I definitely didn't then.

Dubs said...

Very interesting on if you could go back! I will have to think about that one! I'm one that tries to live with "no regrets" and look forward, so this one will take some thinking! :)

rinusrunning said...

1. First, you die!
Ah, then you already behind.

2. Then you bring a number of years in retirement.
Bingo and bit maps. You will increasingly see and hear
and get your hair nice forest back!
Even your partner goes back a bit decent look,
which in turn has implications regarding other (sexual) feelings, which you did not know they were there .....
It is well looked after you until you 65 years is thrown at you because you're too young.

3.Vervolgens get your boss a gold watch plus bonus and start working.
You start easy with lots of free days and as you are no longer working, you just
but less stressed.
Your sexual feelings will carry on even more, now that the body of your life partner, more
diviner begins to take form.

4. After a year or 40 to have worked, you're young enough to celebrate your retirement.
At school you do not have to think.
You go partying every weekend, trying alcohol and drugs, because about 25 years is it over!
You take nice vacations to Spain and goes every winter (apr├Ęs) skiing, because you've had a good job 40 years, so plenty of money!

5. Now you're ready for your students time to go.
You will also disclose your alcoholic drinks with ecstasy and voice.
Learning and homework? John, tie not required. You do it soon no longer work!

6. On your twelfth go to school.
You have no responsibility and you can play as much as you want!

7. Then your baby, and creep you love a woman.
You spend your last nine months floating through wonderfully.

8. It ends as an amazing orgasm !!!!!!!!!

Ewen said...

Ali, I would too. Youth is (often) wasted on the young.

Dusty, great to see your name again! "No regrets" is a fine philosophy, but you can still have fun thinking about what you might change if you could.

Rinus, I love it! Just like the movie - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but not sure about point 8. You're in the front seat of the van - I want to keep an eye on you ;)

Dubs said...

OK - I got distracted from this... I'll think about it tomorrow and let you know. :)

NY Wolve said...

Genetics only make for so much in anything. Effort, training and dedication provide the excellence. And those things we can control now.

Thanks for your comment, btw, about the Garmin 310XT. I actually looked at it and have deferred the purchase for now. I did a software update on my 405 and it seems to have fixed the bug that was causing the freezes. It is ending its life cycle, but I can get another six months or so of use, I now think.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading the imaginative rewriting of your personal history. Your imagination is without doubt in fine form. I have also been looking forward hopefully to good news about your running, but I see from your training diary that you are still struggling with a viral illness. I presume that in the hierarchy of illnesses this is only a minor illness, and is probably a consequence of the stress you have been under at work, but it must be very frustrating. Look after yourself, and I hope you are back to good health and fitness soon.

Ewen said...

Emily, thanks.

NY Wolve, thanks - that's a good point about doing our best with what we can control. Glad to hear your Garmin is back on the road.

Canute, thanks for that. It's down in the hierarchy, but it's still an annoying illness (and painful at times). I'm going to be extra careful with my recuperation this time.