New and improved view of running the bulls in Pamplona

I thought this video was one of the most helpful ones I’ve watched recently in figuring out the mechanics of running with the bulls, best days and best ways:

40 days and 40 nights

It’s only 40 days until I run my first official half-marathon – Waddell & Reed on Oct. 15. But I ran the 13-mile distance for the first time unofficially yesterday. 

I jumped ahead of my training schedule, prompted by driving the W&R route last week to get a sense of it.  I was left anxious by the experience and, rather than stew about it, I just went ahead and jumped from 11 miles to 13 miles distance to get it out of the way.  

It certainly makes me feel a little more confident that I can finish the W&R in October, bringing me one step closer to the colorful chaos that is the running with the bulls in Pamplona (see earlier posts for the tortured explanations of how they’re linked).  


Ignore the bull behind you and think of Spain

How do you sell others, let alone yourself, on going to Pamplona?

One approach is to focus on the things that are easier to understand – the beauty of Spain, for example, charm of Pamplona itself or the vibrant, colorful experience of the Festival of San Fermin.

The cost of emotionally investing in the fun and pageantry is so much lower than investing in the possibility of death or dismemberment, and it makes it so much likelier that you, friends and family may actually be in Pamplona in July 2012.

Running with the bulls in Pamplona

I could give you a complicated explanation, undoubtedly Hemingway-tinged (apparently I’m not the only one), but running with the bulls in Pamplona is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a teen. 

Long-blocked in this pursuit by a smart, loving, long-suffering spouse, I didn’t think it was something that would ever happen.  But then in a misguided moment of weakness, Linda said “Sure, if you ever run a half marathon.”

Big mistake. I’ve transformed a sedentary streak of some years into a health and running kick that culminated today in registering to run in the Waddell & Reed Half Marathon on Oct. 15.

So the official one-year countdown to Pamplona has begun. 

And based on the reactions I’ve gotten from people with whom I’ve discussed this picaresque dream, I thought it might also serve as a small, real-world experiment in coalition building.

So I’m going to see how many people I may persuade to stand in a balcony above the stampeding hordes of bulls, oxen and terrified dreamers – or even join me below in the dash to the corrida. We’ll see how well the info, musings and writings I post here help spark a coalition of people focused on doing something that offers an unknowable mix of risk and reward – the core task of any coalitionist.

Super stakeholders versus the usual suspects

Uber-coalitionist Jennifer Wilding remarked on a recent post in which I referenced “super stakeholders” by noting how most engagement specialists fear the appearance of “the usual suspects” – the people who show up at public meeting after public meeting, sometimes carrying an ideological ax to grind in each hand.

But just as often, some of these folks represent nothing more than a very informal dedication to public service defined as going and participating rather than by seeking public office, volunteering for AmeriCorps or the like.

Are we missing out on an under-utilized resource by preferencing getting new faces into a process? Those new voices are important, but how might we benefit if we created mutually sustainable opportunities for “the usual suspects” to become “para professionals” about an area or issue – and to be recognized for acquiring a mastery of a related skill or expertise?

Is it me or is it too d*#! noisy in here?

Stakeholder engagement and coalition building increasingly rely on social media to help those affected by large, complex policies and programs learn, understand and act in a thoughtful way. But when the “hits” keep coming – and increasing – will we be able to think amidst all the noise?

What if they know enough to not want to see you?