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.
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.