Sometimes I’m a jerk. Like last week during a run on the boardwalk, when I had an opportunity to be an ambassador of running, maybe even lend a needed dose of inspiration, I instead let my competitive ego get the best of me.
While doing a couple runs on the boardwalk I would pass a younger kid with floppy surfer curled hair who was moving at a respectable pace the other way. I wasn’t sure if he was some young high school kid full of himself and showing off for the crowds or a dedicated runner really putting in quality work. We would catch each others eyes as we ran by, but that was about it. Then at the beginning of one of my long runs I passed him again, and towards the end of the run I saw him up ahead, walking. At the time I was pretty spent when I passed him from behind, but all of a sudden I heard footsteps not too far behind me, keeping pace.
“That kid is pacing off me.” I thought to myself, which of course influenced me to pick up my own pace.
So I did. Moving along just a bit quicker I listened for his footfalls, which hung right behind me. We moved further down the boardwalk and I started debating striking up a conversation with the kid, but then the evil competitor inside me surfaced and whispered into my ear. It said,
“Let’s see what this kid can hang on to.”
So ever so slightly I increased the pace, listening to his footfalls, and now his noticeably labored breathing. But still he hung on.
So I picked it up again, even though I was supposed to just be cooling down at the end of my run, and he still hung on, both of us now working at our pace.
At this point I was sure he knew I was deliberately picking up the pace, so I just said what the hell, and increased it again, now far past any casual run. This time, when I listened for his footfalls, there was nothing there. He fell off. Which was about the perfect time as 7th street stretched out towards me and I turned off to head home, at which point my body expressed its anger at being forced to run hard when it was almost too tired to run slow. Honestly, I deserved that.
And as soon as I slowed down, that “jerk” feeling came over me and I regretted not just taking it easy and striking up a conversation with the kid instead of seeing when I could blow him up. Now, I guess I don’t want to hold any pretentiousness that I have some insight this kid might NEED, but hell, maybe something worthwhile would have come out of that interaction. Maybe I would would have learned something. The main point being that NOTHING was going to come of just taking off and leaving this kid behind, save a bit of anaerobic work.
It’s not like I think I DON’T have anything to offer…I mean hell, I’m obsessively writing a blog about….myself. That takes a dose of arrogance doesn’t it?
Ultimately, I think I just have an ingrained insecurity from my younger days. I don’t like holding even an iota of responsibility regarding others actions, which I realize is ridiculous on so many levels, considering how “out” I am about my politics and ideas. Then again, I often hide behind either the safety of anonymity in my writings or the seeming disconnectedness and lack of responsibility that comes with blog posting. Still, I’m just some dude stumbling his way through life. I know I have some things relatively figured out for MYSELF, but far be it for me to tell you what is best for you, even if I think it might help.
Still, I know people who don’t hold the same reservations that I do and are very comfortable talking to strangers about anything and everything, even if it’s just running. Some people are far better running ambassadors than I am, even if I want to be. And I’m glad those people exist, because they sure offer me a lot of insight and inspiration. I guess I just need to overcome my personal reservations and do the same when the opportunities arise.
So, for what it’s worth, don’t give up. More Fire!
4 mile warmup
10 x 800’s between 2:30 and 2:21 with 1:30 recovery jog
3 mile cool down
Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, brown sugar and almonds), coffee
Lunch – Pasta w/ nutritional yeast, sauce, sunflower seeds and protein crumbles
Dinner – 2 gardenburgers and cous cous w/ vegetables
Snacks – coffee, peanut butter cookie, water, coffee, bread w/ peanut butter and jelly, plums straight from a neighborhood tree!!!