Is you is or is you ain’t my baby?

Now what follows is for discussion, debate, whatever with no actions taken or decisions made but I am curious on people’s opinions. There are far more questions than answers, in fact there are no answers.

I run for a running club and the clue is in the blog name, the mac of markgallmac is Motherwell Athletics Club. I joined in 2014 having come through jogscotland and with PBs of 22.05 5k, 46.30 10k and 1.52 for a half marathon and leaving jogscotland for MAC was the natural progression for me. It worked wonders and the equivalent PBs are now 17.48, 37.46 and 1.27. I got involved in Cross country, track, road running, it worked wonders for my confidence and shyness, started me blogging etc. etc. I have had club champ medals, been the “road runner of the year”, been on the committee as communications manager and I owe the club so much so what is the point of this blog?

The big question, and the point of this blog is when does that stop being enough? When does your loyalty run out or should it never? This is not a spoiled brat blog as I have no problems with the club, with its training or with the people and I am full of respect for the coaches, in particular John Hughes who has been a superb help to me over the last 3 or 4 years but personal circumstances can change. When I was doing my best I was hitting the club sessions 3 or 4 times a week. I was working in the local area and getting there in time for the 6.30 sessions wasn’t a massive problem. But now? I have changed jobs. I can go 7 or 8 weeks at a time without making a club session. I don’t have structure anymore. I can go those 7 or 8 weeks without running with another human being and it gets dull, including weekend long runs as being away from the club for so long at a time I have no real interaction with the members and am not part of any training groups. So what are my options, do I carry on the way I am and just plod on with no focus and a decreased enjoyment and no real possibility that I’ll hit any further aims? Do I look further afield to try and see if any other club trains at a different time or closer to my work that I could make sessions and keep myself in a decent shape? I know there are plenty of you that do your own training and wear the club vest on race days with that sense of belonging, loyalty, pride, and I totally respect that. Along that line where does the loyalty to the club become more important than loyalty to yourself? I am beginning to think that I can’t do that. I am not a coach or have the mentality and knowledge to be a coach. I followed a marathon plan on my own, magic, but that was set in stone and doing 12 weeks on your own isn’t the most exciting. I got myself in shape for the Masters steeplechase but my performance was hardly ground breaking. I’m honest about it, I need others to help me train, be it with a plan, or structured sessions or just good old fashioned friendly session rivalry at a session to push myself that bit further. I can be away months from the club and no one notices as there as so many members now and I am so far down the pecking order for any teams that it doesn’t matter or affect anyone, so why should I or anyone else care if I move on elsewhere? Someone suggested I go train elsewhere with another club and make them my second claim club, but surely that is disrespectful to whatever club I may decide to go run with? If you train with them you should run for them. Or make Motherwell my second claim but then again I am not good enough for any of their teams so that would simply be a paper exercise and count for nothing except putting money into their club funds. Being with two clubs in the same area is a bit stupid I’m guessing anyway.

The worries – You ask yourself how your current team mates would react. Would they shun me at races, in the street, delete me on Facebook (the ones that haven’t already…). Would the ones who I regard as friends stop being friends? Throw me out of group chats? See me as a Judas? I remember the crap I got as a youth when I moved from Hamilton to Cambuslang (and the worst of that was from the coach) but that was for a different reason of development and worked for me then.

Politics.

Loyalty.

Fear.

Having to change the blog name…

It’s all a confusing thing when all you want to do is train with likeminded people and try and be the best you can at that time in your life. I’d like to think that for all I have had from the club I’ve given back plenty too. I’ve worked hard to represent that vest the best I can, I have got a lot of exposure for the club over the years, brought people along, did my bit where I could, so does it really matter?

I am currently injured so it’s not something that is going to happen just now, if even at all, but what are your thoughts? Should you remain loyal to the institution that’s helped you so much even if it means accepting what’s second best for yourself? It’s a tricky one. Answers on a postcard. Have a tune.

3 thoughts on “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby?

  1. I am pretty much in the same boat, except I think you get to the club more than I do. I have also considered not renewing my membership.
    Do I have an answer to give you, nope. What I can say is what I hope to do and perhaps you may get some inspiration from me, after all I got lots from you when I took up running. I plan to try and get back to training much more, won’t be easy as life gets in the way, and although I am further down the pecking order than you I would like to get more involved in the club, even if it is just for the banter.

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  2. I’d say, as someone who also can’t get along often that it’s reasonable to be away from the club but still part of it.

    I use the club’s training plans (when fit) but also tried getting others to run with me.

    Technology helps too – comparing solo intervals to club mates on Strava or being part of comment threads in Facebook can maintain aspects of membership.

    However life is bigger than running, and if it dictates a change I don’t see how any of us could argue. So do what’s best for you and your situation

    John

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  3. You are a football fan Mark, how do you feel when your star striker moves on to better himself, or the man that has been injured for the past 18 months (which the club has paid wages to, nurtured through their injuries with countless doctor & physio appointments) suddenly decides not to re-new his contract and leave on a free? Steven Gerrard could have won the title with Chelsea, but he decided he couldn’t leave his beloved Liverpool……………………other players would have disappeared quicker than you at a parkrun!

    The point i am trying to make is that you can be as loyal as you want to be, it’s a choice, part of peoples DNA in some respects. No one should judge you if you want to leave, they will because it’s human nature, and on the flip side everyone will be pleased to see you when you do make it down to a session.

    I’m injured at the moment too, i haven’t been at the Club for nearly 4 weeks now but i know when i go back there will be a lot of familiar faces there glad to see me (hopefully!) and new members who i have never seen before. I will do my best to make them feel welcome because i know how it felt turning up to those first few sessions.

    I have not been a member of the Club for very long (just over a year now), it was there long before i arrived and it will be there long after i am gone. I’m not gonna leave a legacy that results in the Club naming a race or a trophy after me, not that i want to, i mean who would want that sitting on their mantle piece 🙂
    I will never be the fastest runner at any Club, but i run for the enjoyment, the personal battle with myself to improve my times………………….I don’t race, apart from with myself. You have grown up with racing and the competitive nature of that so i know it is a lot different for you than it is for me on this one.

    If another Clubs plans suit yours better then go for it, especially if the hum drum of training on your own is a struggle. I for one certainly wouldn’t like to see you leave the Club as you have helped me a lot over the past 12 months but i sure as hell wouldn’t be deleting you from Facebook or shunning you at events?
    If i did, or anyone else did for that matter, then it says more about me (them) than it does about you.

    My old mentor once told me “we are here for a good time, not a long time” so do whatever makes you happy and stop worrying about what others will think.

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