Changes to Listening

I’m reading the book Deep Work right now and it too has caused me to rethink about what ‘noise’ is invading my days. And, this month at church, we are talking about the idea of ‘breaking up with your phone’ and in that study, we are hearing a lot of data about how our addiction to our mobile phones is having a dreadful harmful impact on our lives.

Whether it is your mobile phone, television or your computer, we have a lot options to pipe noise into our lives

  • If you listen to cable news network all day long one mostly hears negative views of everyone in all directions: all is bad, nothing is working, everybody is your enemy. (I do like the last story on CBS Evening news which always seems to be a positive story about someone or something that works.)
  • Local news spends a big fraction of their reporting on murders, fires, thefts, corruption and car wrecks.
  • Social Media streams to are quick to point out blame or evil. And in a flash, you can attack, or take sides, or fan the flames.
  • Podcasts are available on every single possible topic on the planet. Many good, many bad, and many that might just not be helpful. A source of true crime and hate messages.
  • True Crime shows are the rage on tv now, but they are just so frightening and gloomy. These can make you want to just stay inside and pack a weapon all the time.
  • Many movies and shows on television are not very good messages to pipe into our heads and the heads of our kids.
  • Facebook is sometimes full of joy (birth and marriages) and other times full of sadness (death, loss and sickness). Unfortunately, it is also a place (like Twitter) where people, who might otherwise seem normal, will bombard you with politics or news that you do not want to hear. The last presidential election cycle was a nightmare.

A while back I referenced the book Factfulness which tells us that perhaps, things are better than we realize. And really, there are lots of good people and organizations around trying doing to do the right things.

So where does all this go and what do I do about it.

  • I’ve cut way back on listening to the news. I’m mostly interested in the weather forecasts (something that might justify another post) and sports. I do try to check in on the national news daily, but I don’t spend a lot of time with it.
  • I used to listen to true crime podcasts and was fascinated with the solved and unsolved cases. However, I got to a point were the scary, negative, sad, awful was overpowering. And, as some of you know, I’m a runner and I would listen to these on early morning runs before the sun comes up. It is not a good mix to listen to these stories while out alone in the dark. Not needed. I’ve stopped listening to this whole genre.
  • On my mobile phone, I’ve turned on screen time app limits to limit social media access daily.
  • As mentioned on my last post, I’ve deleted Facebook and some other apps from my phone.

I think there are more steps to take and I’m on a journey here. I’d welcome hearing your thoughts and recommendations on how to best throttle or control the pipe of news and information that is streaming into my head.

Two Recommendations

However, I did just finish listening to Dr. Death podcast at the recommendation of SL and as a result I’ve decided to never need surgery. I wrote on an earlier post how essential it is to have a medical advocate to support you when going into surgery or serious medical issues. Wow.

And at the recommendation of JE I’ve just finished listening to Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Stevenson. He is coming to OKC to speak in a few days. Must listening. Must read. By the way you should follow JE’s blog here.

Epilogue: Running

So my fierce running partner and I decided to run 1,400 miles last year. I had run 700+ the year before while dealing with a foot injury so it was almost doubling my mileage in the year. We completed the task by mid-December and we made ourselves some medals to recognize the milestone.

And, of course, we’ve signed up to run another marathon this year.

Hard Things

I ran a marathon last weekend. I was better prepared for this marathon than any of the others I’ve run.

My 1st marathon was hard and I struggled but I was naive and didn’t know what to expect so I get a hall pass for that one. My dear and fierce running partner had to get me through that one. The second one happened on a hotter day than expected with a lot of wind and a lot of allergens in the air. That one didn’t go well either. Both of those were in OKC. My next one was at Disney and everything is magical there and, of course, it went well. My fourth was in Dallas and it was our fastest one with a PR that was 37 minutes faster than any of my prior marathons.

This spring we had our best training runs ever. We were running nearly a minute per mile faster than our PR pace in Dallas. So far this year I’ve run 586 miles when last year all year long I ran 794 miles. My partner and I have a goal this year of running 1400 miles and we are ahead of that target.

My expectation for the OKC Memorial Marathon where high. Our target was 14 minutes faster than our PR in Dallas with a stretch goal 8 minutes faster. We were confident and ready.

I’m a very analytical person who uses spreadsheets and plans and writes up 4 pages of notes prior the marathon to discuss and consider with my partner. Yes, I do that. We had strategies and tactics and computers and Garmin¬†watches.

636608467845604642Unfortunately, the temperatures on race day started higher and then rose a lot higher than expected. We started in shorts and tanks and were glad to be wearing them and when we finished, the temp was over 80 degrees. My watch said 81 degrees. We had not done any long runs at those temps this year.

Probably the back 40% of the run I was struggling due to the heat and we had to slow way down. It was difficult and hard, but we kept going. We ended up finishing about 14 minutes slower than Dallas and about 27-28 minutes slower than our target.

My reactions on race day were of disappointment because I wanted to do better. My expectations were different than what we were able to achieve.

However, as I thought more about this, I’ve completely changed my view. Just being out there, healthy and running, is an amazing gift and I’ve realized just how wonderful it is to be out there and doing these hard things.

I learned in the final, official results that I finished in the top half of my age group. I’ll take that. I realized the day after the marathon that I finished this one about 30 minutes faster than my prior best in OKC. I’ll take that. And I finished on a hot day and I’ll take that too.

And I was out there running with my dear and fierce running partner being cheered and supported by three others who traveled around the course to help and cheer for us. One of the three supporting and cheering us is battling cancer and she is a dear and fierce person herself. Just to be out there with her was a delight. Having her giving me orange slices and bottles of water and a wet towel and sending us confidence was a wonderful experience and part of a wonderful day. It turns out my biggest regret is not getting a picture of them and us together at some point in the race. The five of us getting a selfie. Note for future marathons, make sure that happens.

Go find some dear friends. Do hard things. Enjoy the experience. Cheer for someone else.  Get out there.

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