Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yeah, we're different

Today was another one of those grumpy "I don't wanna run" crap-fests where I sit around and whine to myself about how much I don't want to run, is it going to matter THAT much if I skip one 6-miler, blah, so tired, etc.

And then I break down and throw on my shoes and throw myself out the door...

So what I realized tonight is, pretty much, if you want to give yourself a good idea of how different runners/individual sport athletes (triathletes, cyclists, etc) are from the general population, the best way to do it is to run down a busy street full of bars/restaurants in a college town on a Saturday night. Everyone is out on their way to eat a lot of food, drink a lot of alcohol, or most likely some combination of those two. You, in the meantime, are trying to pick up your pace because its the last 15 minutes of your run and you're supposed to be going "moderate". And people are looking at you like "what in God's name is this weirdo doing, she should be out drinking like a normal person". Except you're not. And you simply don't care.

Runners are weird. There's really no way around that. We enjoy putting ourselves through absurdly painful things, we devote an absurd amount of time and energy to our sport, we make sacrifices many would be unwilling too for the sake of one more second off of our PR...and I think for a lot of people its like, where's the draw in that? Why are you running down the street when you could be sitting having a martini at the sidewalk cafe? It's a mystery that's really pretty impossible to put into words. But all I know is, as I'm cruising at 7:20 pace down State Street, I couldn't be more proud and amazed that I am what I am. I am a RUNNER. 95% of those people looking at me all googly-eyed can't even imagine doing what I'm doing. And to know that I can - that I actually am this person who works for 7 hours and then comes home and gets her damn run in anyway and cruises the whole way feeling great - is just like...WOW.

It sounds kind of weird and lame probably that these thoughts just happened to pop into my mind tonight, since let's face it, another big part of the weirdness of runners is the fact that not a day passes without some thought to our latest workout or upcoming race or what-have-you. But really, how many times do we stop for a second and think about just how incredible what we are doing is? Generally during runs I'm not thinking about my awesomeness, I'm thinking about how my shin hurts or I'm thirsty or why the hell did I eat those pretzels? But tonight, for some reason, I was just looking around at all of these people headed out for a night of fun, and I thought to myself - I'd rather be me than them.

Does this mark some kind of milestone of me escaping the college "well yeah, I want to be a good runner...but I also want to go out every weekend" mindset into that of a truly hardcore athlete? I don't know. I'm still not willing to give up my nights of debauchery just yet...hell, I'm only 22. But I feel like since track season, it's been like I've realized if I'm willing to go for it, to really, 100% go for it, I can really be a good runner. I can be a good triathlete. I can, in 5 or 10 years, go running down that same street I ran down tonight to an Ironman finish. I can do it all. And all its going to take is the willingness to take that extra step - to be a little weird, a little different - and just go for it, balls to the wall. You know what? That sounds great to me.

Ironically enough, as I finished writing this super post of pumping myself up, I happened to go check the website for the half marathon I'm training for. Registration opened on Wednesday. IT'S ALREADY CLOSED!!!!

What the hell do I do now?

I keep running...

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