Irishman Keith Kelly ran for Providence College and was the 2000 NCAA Cross Country champion. He still trains and races at a very high level and his blog (ain't no hobbyjogger's blog) is called Fitter, Happier, More Productive. Keith actually sold me a couple of pairs of trainers when he was just out of college, training in Boston and working for Marathon Sports in Cambridge. And that's about as close as I'll ever get to running a sub-30 minute 10k.
I only stumbled upon Keith's blog because it's one of the many runners' blogs that Jim Johnson links to. I really like Jim's blog because he runs about a hundred races a year in New England and always gives excellent reviews.
So that's all a really round about way of saying that the phrase Fitter, Happier, More Productive has been bouncing around in my head for the last couple of weeks. I have no doubts about the fitter and happier parts. Fitter is easy. And I think my wife--despite the hassle of having me take off on a Sunday morning saying, "Going for a run!" and coming back 2 hours later--would agree I'm happier. But the more productive bit is more complicated. Over the long haul? Yes, I think so. But certainly there are pockets of time when I'm a whole lot less productive, at least when it comes to the basic necessities of life--little things like work, paying bills, renewing the car registration, yard work. Not a whole lot got done around here in the few weeks just before or the few days just after the Boston Marathon. Eh, what can you do? I'm not worried about that.
What troubles me is when it seems I need to run just to function as a normal human being. It's taken a decade or so but I have become 100% a morning runner and not because I prefer to run at the crack of dawn (or earlier.) It's just that is the only time I can make sure it gets done. And so over many years and tens of thousands of miles, its become part of who I am, to the point that that I can't do much else until I've got some miles in. The rare days when I decide to sleep in (until 6:30, woohoo!) and run later in the day or--good heavens--take a day off, I'm just not much good. I'm a mess, actually, tending to stare slackjawed at my computer screen unable to comprehend the email in my inbox, or stare at my phone hoping it calls somebody, anybody, because lord knows I can't make such decisions as whom to call next without having run that morning.
This would probably bother me more if I weren't so good at rationalizing my addiction. And besides the simple solution is to just go running every morning. Why, just look at me now--I ran nearly 13 miles with 6 x 1000 and 4 x 200 this morning and a few hours later I'm simultaneously blogging my ass off, listening/watching a web conference and doing email. Multitasking I say!!
And anyways how productive do I really need to be? I'm fitter and happier--that's pretty good.