Thank you Cake.
When I meet new people I am reluctant to tell them that I'm a distance runner. For the same reason I'm reluctant to reveal that I'm a vegetarian. Hard to believe since I have an entire website devoted to all things ME, but I really don't enjoy being the center of attention. And invariably, when running or eating comes up, it becomes the TPG Show. Apparently, I am a freak.
Okay, so this really isn't news.
Today I was getting to know a new group of trainees and someone had alerted them to my antics and the questions began.
Now, I actually really enjoy talking about running. It's my favorite topic after glitter. I just don't enjoy the personal questions. What's your best time? The farthest you've ever run? How many marathons? WHY? (always asked incredulously, not with genuine curiosity)
Why do we run? And what makes one person run one marathon and another run fifty? What makes one runner content with a challenging 20 miles and another seeking to top 100 each week? What is the intrinsic difference between fitness and borderline obsession?
Y'all, we live in this little runner blog bubble. Where we begin to think its normal to run 3 marathons in 11 weeks. (normal people don't run 3 marathons in a lifetime) We associate with people who run their age on their birthday. With people who ride hundreds of miles in a weekend. With athletes who plan to swim 8 miles just to say they can and did!
This weekend I'm headed out to crew for friends who are all running a hundred mile race. ONE HUNDRED MILES. In a row. And while I'm incredibly impressed, I don't blink an eye. Of course you are going to run a hundred miler. That's a GREAT idea!
And never once did it occur to me to ask, why?
We all know that I love to read anything by Dean Karnazes. And that in addition to Elf and war movies, that I also adore the films Running the Sahara, Running America and Hell on Wheels. I just love a good endurance story.
Welp, last night I met friends to watch the film, "Bicycle Dreams." It's a documentary on the trans America race, Race Across America. A 3,000 mile journey that some will make in as few as 9 days. All on bike. All by the power of their own two legs.
Good golly Pete.
The dedication, the determination, the intestinal fortitude that these men and women display. Just incredible. I found myself holding my breath during the film, anxious to see how things would turn out. Would he make it? Who would win? Did she finish? How is this humanly possible???
When it was over Robert turned to me and asked, "Well, what did you think?" And as to not reveal my crazy, I made what I hoped would pass for "normal people" conversation. When in reality, I was thinking, "WHERE DO I SIGN UP TO CREW FOR THIS RACE???" This is exactly the kind of thing of which I want to be a part. I can't ride 3000 miles in 9 days but I want to be around people who can. Or at least who want to try! I want to be around people who dare to run 100 miles. Who push themselves to physical, mental and emotional limits.
It has been said by many that ultra endurance athletes are running away from something. But I like to think that the further I run, the further I ride, the harder I push I'm getting closer and closer to where I really need to be.
So maybe, just maybe, instead of running away, I'm running towards something amazing.
And I have a feeling, I'll know it when I get there.