>General Running>Running vis-a-vis Life
Runners are, by and large, the most brutally honest people I know. From work-a-day hobbyjoggers like me to professional athletes, delusions of a better, faster, more capable self simply cannot survive the rigors of real life training and racing. At the end of the day you are what the clock says you are and if you don't like it then it is up do you to do something about it. But don't complain about it because nobody wants to hear your whining. Period. When you get dropped from the group on a hilly long run there is no way to sugar coat it. On that course, on that day, among that group of runners, that's who you are. Your PRs are your identity so you better work hard for them, make them count, and, above all, be proud of them. For the most part this type of honesty is very healthy and I truly believe it has made me better at almost everything I do in life.
-The Hobby Joggah
I came across this right at a time when I was strongly considering hanging it up. I've had a rough year, getting injured more frequently and unexpectedly than ever. After reading this, I was reminded of all the things running has done for me, added to me, and for the focus and confidence and happiness it has brought to my life, to my bearing, to my family, and to the youth group I work with.
In what way has being a runner changed you, made you, broken and rebuilt you? What -- and I almost gag to use to term -- "transferable" qualities has it imparted?
Oh, and this:
We are the least of human beings. Our muscles are long and wiry, the skin pulled taut over not much more than bone and gristle, we stride forward among a humanity that grows larger every year as we grow smaller, lighter, leaner, sick and frail relics of times long past. The act of running produces nothing at all. We arrive, incessantly, from where we begin. We are sick from this perspective.
But out of that sickness we runners, like Nietzsche, carve a peculiar sort of health. We have the health of endurance, the ability to go on, the strength to not only run for hours, but to enjoy our bodies and the sensations they give us when they are working. We need almost nothing at all to find our happiness: only a few hours, a stretch of road, perhaps a friend, or even better a competitor. We hide in our spindled chests an unusually large and heaving heart--and in our heads a warbled tune, a song, as we move on down the road. Do you know the feeling I know? When your legs have disappeared, and there is only your heart, your lungs, and your eyes skimming disembodied through the air? We are Aristotle's featherless bipeds, we runners. Though we have no wings, we have taught ourselves to fly.
Like this, running from our sickness, as far as we can, through the pain of injury, the endless repetition of footfalls, and the loneliness of the open road, we run on, drawing on what strength we have, making ourselves healthy.
"If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus
I have trouble evaluating how running has changed me as it's still happening, and I don't mean incrementally.
Most interesting is trail running...
Trail running has kept my head from exploding.
In it I've found how to put aside concern for self nearly completely. And in those moments while bombing down a rock strewn slope, heedless of any potential for injury, running as fast as my legs will turn over, I am finally ( f**cking *finally*!) free.
Interval Junkie --Nobby
One of my favorite things about running is the stone-cold honesty of it. This disposition creates some dissonance when small-talking to non-runners. I'l talk about a race, and how I didn't meet my expectations or that my will gave out at a critical moment. The race was a certain kind of failure where you got a B+ but were studying for an A. My partner in conversation will usually try to create a few excuses for me, or give me the "bright side" of things. They usually feel I'm being overly critical of myself. I'm not. Like the linked video, I'm exactly aware (to the best of my ability) of my performance and my failings. That's just how it is. There is no "but if only" (baring injury / unexpected bowel moments). So, when I'm getting the social-nicety pep-talk, it messes with my zen. I feel estranged from my conversation partner and suspect if I listen to any more of this self-esteem band-aide bullshit I'll go soft in the mind and pudgy around the middle.
And the solution to failure is so blatantly obvious and simple: work harder. This too doesn't translate well into other realms of vocation that are based on a lot of fortune. So I need to keep it in mind that not everything is as simple as running.
I too had a rough Spring and find myself behind in where I was at the start of the last training season. So, I'm struggling with my morale. And I'm trusting that if I just get out there an put in the miles -- no matter how crappy the workout / pace, I'm still going to advance my performance from where it is today. Just trust in the miles.
Nader, it's really too bad about your mental setback -- you were on fire in the Spring: 18:09?! holy shit -- just hunker down, take a season off to build up the miles -- then meet me in Boston!
2014 Goals: sub-3 Marathon at Boston
Current Status 12/05: Building base mileage
just a simple cat
I used to live in books, I used to live in waiting for the future, goals to accomplish, I used to live in the past, regrets and triumphs clogging my head. Now as a runner, my true life has begun. I live in the moment, I live outdoors, I live being alive, breathing, gasping, feet slapping, hearing the birds sing.
Oh roo roooo!
I've kind of mocked those who are like "oh, I ran a marathon and it changed my life"....always just thought well, you run, you just run, no big deal.
But I do have to say that at a recent job, I had a coworker who was very disrespectful, very negative, always sighing loudly at my mistakes, making a production of the fact that yes, I was the FNG and I was not as competent in 3 months as he had become in 10 years. When he would be in full cry w/this stuff yet again, I began to think to myself "F you, bud, I've run Boston TWICE, and not as a charity runner, either!" (no point in saying it out loud)
That might seem petty and stupid, but it did wonders for me in keeping me from reacting to his constant putdowns.
For me, running is a very moving experience
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