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Realising potential

This morning's run passed by the famous Melbourne
Cricket Ground.

In a previous post, I wrote about the attributes I consider keys to reaching the top as a runner (and most fields of endeavour) - the right genes (natural talent), hard work and luck.  This is simplistic, of course, but in my chosen sport of long-distance running, the champions seem to have all three.

For this morning's run, I travelled into the East Melbourne apartment of an old friend, Bill, and we ran about 8km down to, and around, the Tan Track and back.  Bill is a formidable performer in any field of endeavour he chooses.  I first met him at University where we were both doing our Masters degrees, and he was way ahead of the class.  He is also an accomplished musician, has reached the pinnacle of his chosen academic profession, and is a quality cyclist and runner.

Looking up Anderson Street Hill on Melbourne's
Tan Track.

In all these fields, he has leveraged some good genes with fierce dedication and focus to explore his considerable potential and reach elite levels.  He's not a person who's going to die wondering "What if?" or whether he got the best out of himself.  I have always respected his attitude and sometimes wondered whether I could have been a better runner if I had his self-discipline.

Luck wasn't on his side in running and cycling, with crippling injuries shortening his competitive career, but he was hard to beat, especially over distances from 10km to 25km.  Nowadays, he's content to run for an hour most days, chronic injuries permitting, and doesn't run competitively, reasoning that this will extend his running life.  He has advised me to do the same, and I can see the wisdom of this approach.  Maybe that is what I will end up doing.

Melbourne's Tan Track.

Bill took mercy on me this morning, and we jogged our 8km at the princely speed of 6 minutes per kilometre.  The run included the famed Anderson Street hill, about which I was somewhat apprehensive, but it passed without incident and my pulse was still beating regularly when we finished.  My right calf was sore and my joints and legs ached, but it was great to be running with an old friend on a picture perfect morning around some of our old haunts.