Saturday, October 23, 2010

Future - Admission of who I am?

Some good suggestions and observations were made in my last post. In order for me to rectify my past mistakes and failures, I need to admit how I got here this year. Truth is that is a long story but all I need to do is look back to 2009, I stepped up my training, had an injury, slowed down and then focused only on finishing the Surf the Murph 50. I did finish it but it wasn't easy so I knew I needed to do train differently in 2010, I started to create a plan but ultimately I just tried to run more races as my training plan, I missed many days of running and basically had no plan. My plan was to run Superior, FANS, Afton, McNaughton a couple of marathons and just watch myself improve with all of the miles. Of course I missed running on many days as work or my attitude kept me from executing and on the days I did run, I just meandered my way through them.

The bottom line in 2010 (and yes many other years) is that "Commitment and Purpose" are what I have lacked. I need to change this but obviously I need to figure out something that gets me there so I figured being an engineer I would start to plan my 2011 from an engineering perspective.

My problem is that engineers are trained to solve problems logical and generally we do but some engineers take different approaches to problem solving. Years ago when I worked at Sperry/Unisys I was part of a test engineering organization that had close to 30+ engineers in the group and our admin had us all take a Cosmos personality test to see how we solved problems. I am sure it was done more as a joke than anything serious but the results were insightful. The test categorized your learning style as Logical, Practical, Intuitive and Imaginative. To give you an idea of the problem solving traits of the categories, here was an example given to as an explanation after we took the test.

If you purchased a new bike that needed to be assembled what would be the approach you would take:

Logical - carefully unpack the bike from the box, find the instructions, read them thoroughly from from to back, layout each part, start at step 1 and then follow each subsequent step until reaching the final assembly step.

Practical - unpack the bike from the box, note that there are instructions, reference as needed until assembly is complete.

Intuitive - dump the bike from the box, assemble it, after bike is assembled, note there are instructions and probably a few extra parts and throw them away.

Imaginative - look at the box and then go and sit under a tree and think about how much fun you will be having when you ride your new bike.

Out of the 30+ engineers, we ended up with 1 practical, 2 intuitive, 1 imaginative and the remaining 25+ engineers were logical.

What does this have to do with my training, well I was one of the intuitive types, that means I like to do things by feel, I like to skip steps, I don't follow instructions, I lose interest in following a plan, I take risks, I excel at procrastinating, I try to always find the easy way to do things, I take shortcuts. I also love challenges, problem solving, planning new things and am capable of analyzing new situations with not a whole lot of info.

For me to create a plan that I commit to that has a purpose goes against my nature. That said, I did follow a plan for my first marathon. Ok, I should be honest and say that even with the first plan, I wasn't too good on those midweek longer runs, speed workouts or hill workouts after the first few weeks but other than those issues, I followed the plan. After that race, I would make my plans and I usually will get in the mileage just not those specific workouts that were in the plan so quite adding them to a plan. So you see, I can follow general plans, you know the ones that say I need to run 20 miles this weekend with maybe a few midweek runs. I will do that but nothing else that is unless I feel like doing them. I do love spending time creating plans and schedules, I just am not good at execution. Truth is at work I am much better at strategic thinking than tactical implementation. At work though I can hire folks that are good at what I am not, hard to do that with my running.

Ok my self examination is over, now I need to think through my faults, issues and obstacles and then figure out what I am going to do next year to mitigate them or probably said more correctly, compensate for them.

Any ideas?


Thompson said...

You said "At work though I can hire folks that are good at what I am not". You could hire a coach?

Mike said...

You know Mark that kind of occurred to me but I failed to mention I don't follow advice very well :-). Actually it is a good idea.


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