I'll write an actual post later about the twilight (steeplechase = PAIN), but for now, enjoy this random rambling/essay I wrote last year after cross country season. Believe me, this is only the beginning of my WTC reminiscings...although I did manage to not have a breakdown yesterday :)
“you call it madness, i call it love”
this quote can basically sum up my feelings about the track club. coming into this group 3 years ago, i never could possibly IMAGINED that things would end up the way that they are. basically, i thought it was cool that i would get to race again. what i got was so much more than that…so much more. over the years this team has gone from just some people i run with…to my team…to some of my best friends. i can honestly say i’ve never met a more amazing group of people. we come from all over, we all have different friends, majors, everything…but somehow we get together and we just click. and why? because we love to run.
a lot of people probably think we’re nuts for doing what we do. who in their right mind wants to spend an ungodly number of hours a week pushing themselves to their physical limit, miss out on nights of drinking and hours of sleep to get up every weekend and trek across the state to go kill themselves for 20 or 30 minutes? and on top of all that, why would you EVER want to do this for no recognition, no glory, no free clothes or scholarships or sponsorships. and, for the majority, not even for the potential of winning? just to suffer anonymously and finish somewhere in the middle of the pack, how could that possibly make you happy? people ask. and we can’t explain. we don’t need to. because we understand. we understand each other. we’ve seen the frustration after a crappy race, and we can relate. we celebrate each other’s victories, because we know that it doesn’t get much better than that. and we know that an outsider can never understand that. they don’t realize that if you run a PR, it doesn’t matter if you finished fifth or three hundredth. they don’t realize that winning a race doesn’t mean that you’re happy with it. but we do.
but the best part is that we’ve realized that we aren’t just a team. we’re a family. pasta parties, random team gatherings, a whole lot of flip cup…we know that we’re amazing off the track too. there are few things funnier than getting up for a 10 mile run on sunday, mere hours after you were playing beer pong with the same people. drunk or sober, we know how to have a good time – from pasta parties that end up with a head of lettuce getting thrown like a football and catchphrase marathons in the van to and from meets, to shirtless man parties and drinking beer out of Gatorade cups. we’re entirely ridiculous, and i guess that’s our charm. lets face it, you need to be a little ridiculous to want to do what we do. we’re all huge running dorks and we know it…and we don’t care. and so we can have drunken conversations about our mileage and workouts, or talk about the us marathon trials like it’s the superbowl, or have hour-long conversations about the day’s race. and people think we’re insane. no non-runner gives a crap about your first mile split or how you can’t believe you got beat by a guy in a ponytail…but talk to one of us about it, and we’ll listen like it’s the most entertaining thing we’ve ever heard.
the pictures are another thing. honestly, how many pictures of people running can you have? but we always want more…why? because that one moment of that one race is immortalized. you can never go back to that moment…you can never go back to that race. once its over you can hardly remember how you felt while it was going on (and lets face it, if you could, there would probably be a lot less people who ever did it again). but you look at that picture months or even years later, and think “yes, that was a great day”. or “wow, i was really dying in that race”. and come on, running pictures are badass. who doesn’t want to feel hardcore?
running is crazy. distance running in particular. which is probably why the camaraderie of distance is so much stronger than anything i’ve ever seen in sprints. that’s half of what made me want to be a distance runner in the first place – so i could be in that elite club that can go out for an hour long run and hardly be tired, who gets excited about 800 repeats, who thinks a 5 mile run is an easy pre-race day. and now that i’m in, i can’t ever imagine going back. because you’ve got to be a little crazy to want to do what we do. and maybe we are. but i can’t think that i’m crazy when i’m standing at the start line on a gorgeous fall day, after cheering with my girls and knowing that my boys are going to be cheering along the course, with hundreds of miles in my legs that have all led up to this, and knowing i’m ready to rock. and crossing that finish line, seeing the clock, and knowing that i’m a second, a minute faster than i was before. and knowing that tonight i’ll get to celebrate with the very people i’ve just been racing with, but first i need to cheer for my favorite boys. does it really get much better than that? doubt it. maybe we are crazy. but i couldn’t possibly love it more.