Niggles and Motivation...

I have a niggle, shouldn't be a surprise, and its a return of an old friend - the puffy foot. 

In the words of my GP, "you've got chronic soft tissue damage - what do you expect, how many times have you twisted it?"

So when I've hammered it, it puffs up... Not a lot I can do about it, if it gets too bad then I'll pop to the doctors and get tablets that are banned in horse racing and normally induce a whole cascade of rumours - water tablets are well known to my dicky ticker community, and normally for heart failure.  So the rumours do circulate.  Trust me, everything is working as it should...

So, a week of recovery (that was in the plan from the start), just walking and pottering about to keep things active. 

I don't often blog about work, because quite frankly one bloke sitting at a desk drafting stuff isn't that exciting.  However, this week Civil Service Live came to town and I ended speaking at it twice.  It is very easy to be very cynical about events like Civil Service Live and most of that cynicism is true, they do feel like "bread and circuses", but they do give us mere underlings a chance to mix, chat and share.  And yes, I do have to write, as the Vice Chair of the Civil Service Disability Network, to raise some significant issues about disabled access, and yes I have another issue to raise behind closed doors, but the positives still hopefully outweigh the negatives.  One of those is just reminding yourself of how many ways the civil service helps people, genuinely gets out there and does its best.  We're not all Sir Humphreys and we're sure as hell not all jobsworths - we do all want better IT though;-)

"My" sessions where taking part on a panel discussion on what makes a great team and to provide an inspirational 10 minutes on development, my development journey and how to look at things a little differently.

Neither were, or should've been, easy.  It is so easy to talk about the negatives of team working, everyone can define what a great team isn't... So having the chance to give a diversity laden view of the world, getting across those simple things that often get forgotten - management is about teaching people what to do, and how to do it properly, leadership is that bit extra - the bit that gets teams not just meeting but exceeding their targets.  My real world examples seemed to welcomed - at least my the little queue of people who wanted to thank me for being honest, or for saying something that touched on an issue in the office. 

The inspirational 10 minutes is always going to be a potential nightmare for a disabled leader... Am I considered inspirational just because I've done what I've done because of the dicky ticker, if so then I object.  Is it because I can put something into context against a backdrop of a running schedule that some much faster runners find impressive - then I can live with that. 

Being motivational isn't easy when your motivation is low isn't good, and doing it two weeks after another knock back on a promotion opportunity (with the attendant system issues and "interesting" approach to feedback) makes for a reflective look at things,  Which was good in some ways, it forced me to remember I'm a most unusual scientific civil servant - I've proven myself in front of Advisory Committees, learned and delivered a role in HR, battered a research budget into shape, and now get to try and make Knowledge Management and Futures thinking stick.  Not a bad mix, and yes the lack of promotion when I've got the ticks in the boxes of management, project delivery, finance, combined with a splash of comms and a bedrock of science in a number of discrete discipline hurts, and will always hurts.  There's no dodging that, and all I can do is review my skills and working out what's missing or not as fresh as should be and try and plug that gap... Not much of a salve, but I know my moods and I know I will come out of this dip sooner rather later and if in this black dog of a mood I can give someone pause for thought about what their next career move should be (sideways rather than straight up) and apparently gave someone their mojo back then I'm not bad at being inspirational...   
In running terms I've done what I set out to do in my head back on New Years Eve - run London, and run London well.  A PB is always welcome, a 12 min PB is extraordinary on a hot day.  Liverpool was always going to be the follow up, the return to running in my home city - and my second fastest marathon, despite the heat, despite the injuries, in spite of the course.  And then the Intro to Ultra - 30 miles of hills in the Peak District - I'd hoped for an hour faster than last year, smashing over 2 off was utterly stunning.

So, a treat as well as a rest.  My poor Garmin 310XT is battered, chipped and not always the correct tool for the job - its just not rufty tufty enough for some of situations I take it into - so a Garmin Fenix has come home from the sales, more than I'd normally spend on a treat, but combines most of the features I could ever want (and effectively means I have a smartwatch with a 6 week battery that I can take and use as a GPS for c50 hours... beat that!).

Back to the gym tomorrow - my next race is the Great North Run - so my hope is to shed some of the bulk from carboloading 3 times in 10 weeks and to try and convert some of my undoubted endurance into something resembling speed...

Nine weeks to Newcastle. Let the fun begin:-)

TTFN

Paul 

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