Our little secret

There’s something funny about being a competitive distance runner of a pretty decent caliber….no one cares. Well, I guess it’s not that no one cares, but rather no one knows. And why would they? Distance runners don’t get the sort of air time that other sports do, nor do we carry the same sort of prestige as other professional sports backed by huge corporations and media outlets. That’s ok really, we thrive on being underdogs. We are the nobody’s of the sports world and we do this for the love of the experience if nothing else.

Granted, there are some of us who make an attempt to advertise ourselves and our exploits, which should be obvious considering you are reading this blog. Some of us turn ourselves into media machines while others attach causes or issues to our running. Then some of us just run and worry about nothing else. I tend to lean towards merely running, but it’s hard not to share my experiences in one way or another. What I find amusing is just how few people know what I’m trying to do right now. Good friends, ex-housemates, etc., have no clue how much I run or where I’m trying to take this, while facebook friends and blog readers have more insight into my daily activities than do family and friends. Again, that’s ok.

I like having a secret. A superman underneath a Clark Kent facade. Short of running t-shirts or hats, I don’t advertise my running on a face to face basis. If the subject comes up, I just talk about it normally and usually only relent to detailing my efforts if Michelle calls me out, as she tends to do frequently. “Oh, just tell them your times. Tell them what you’re training for.” Somewhat unwillingly, somewhat proudly, I do.

It’s interesting to be good at a sport that no one really cares about or understands, to be attempting to become one of the best marathoners in the country, and know that it means nothing on a daily basis. I don’t ever expect to be recognized as “the runner” in public (it has only happened in relation to this blog really), but that only serves the fun of having a little secret to myself.

“Yes, I’d like an Iced Soy Latte (and by the way, I can run 10 miles at 5:18 a mile and still have plenty more to go).”

“No, I don’t need a receipt with that (but I might finish in the top 20 at this years Chicago marathon).”

It’s ridiculous, I know, but it’s still fun. In the end though, this has little to do with others and is primarily about achieving something for myself and something for my son to be proud of. Still, I don’t mind dabbling in a bit of secretive ego-gratification every once in awhile. There’s no harm in that as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the drive to continue forward.


Speaking of forward…starting tomorrow I’ll be heading out to Ocean City, New Jersey for a 10 day vacation, which means all my running will be on the boardwalk in what is often a sun-blasted and humid environment. My performances always vary out there, but it’s always a great environment to run in with hundreds of other beach goers on bikes, walking or running. I’m really looking forward to doing two 20 milers on the boards in the morning and a couple speed workouts on the track or elsewhere.

And when I’m thoroughly exhausted from a hard morning run, I get to treat myself to the awesomeness that is Bashful Banana – a health food deli with lots of vegan items and their signature Whip-a-lope, 1/2 a cantaloupe filled with banana ice cream (frozen bananas run through a juicer) then topped with fresh fruit. Good heavens, it’s what I live for every summer. Join me won’t you?!


8 responses to “Our little secret

  1. As a swimmer and a triathlete, but not nearly of your caliber, I feel similarly. I love-hate it. This weekend I just got 3rd in my first open water mile ever; the Motor City Mile. It was a blast.

    I got props form the folks there, and from my friends who understand what it means to get 3rd in a big race. So when I get home with my new medal, my kids (who’ve seen dad show up with dozens of medals over the years) who usually love taking my hardware, just say, “Oh, we don’t want that medal. It’s not as cool as the others….” No one else in the day knows that I did a race in the Detroit River that morning. I still have to clean the gutters. I still have to call the insurance agency.

    Until I get to the pool again. And when I start swimming, my fellow athletes know what it takes. It’s like a shared secret that I wish wasn’t just between us any more. But at least they know, and that’s nice.

    • Hey man, ouch, that must hurt with the kids. I know I want my son to, if not understand, then at least think my running is pretty cool someday, but I also know not to expect too much. But yeah, I totally hear you…our fellow athletes know what it takes to do what we do, but it would be nice to get a little more recognition every once in awhile. The ego is a strong force no?

      For what it’s worth, I think it’s pretty awesome what you do and know I would drown if I attempted one of your swim workouts.

  2. Scott–
    it’s funny, because talking to you in person you really don’t see any of the ego that can sometimes seep out into your blog posts (like this one). I don’t know, you just seem so incredibly humble in person, however, it seems apparent from posts like this that the ego is most definitely there! I’m not trying to knock on it or anything like that, because like you said, there is nothing wrong with imbibing on a little ego-gratification ever now and again (lets face it, it’s definitely needed sometimes to keep motivation levels from dropping!)… it’s just a strange something I’ve noticed on here, and being a friend and fellow runner, I thought I would share my thoughts with you… or maybe I’m the only one who notices this disparity between what you write in your blog and what you say in person? Anyway, just some food for thought, I suppose…
    I hope you have a nice vacation on the beach with some good tough runs on the boardwalk! it sucks that we’ll miss you this weekend for a run again 😦 hopefully we’ll catch up for one soon!

    • Gerry, first off, I completely respect your opinion as a friend and yes, I know there is a significant difference between my real interactions and my blog posts. It’s the nature of the medium that we are less self-censoring on the internet…plus, I openly admit that I indulge in some ego-gratification on this blog….I mean, it is about ME. 😉 I try to offer something a little more general to keep things tempered from time to time, but my ego gets the best of me as well.

      I think the main point to consider is whether our ego expressions act to put others down or use our efforts to inspire others and offer something more positive. That’s how I like to approach it when I do delve a little deeper into self-advertisement. But yes, do put me in check if I start to get ahead of myself….I just think that recently, when I consider where I might be as a runner post Chicago or if I qualify for the Trials, that I’ve become very fascinated with what I’ve been doing. Before I wasn’t even trying to do this…it was just happening and now I’m like, “Whoa…this is crazy…check this out!” not in an arrogant sense, but in a, “humans can do amazing things…even when we don’t realize it!”

      I hope that comes across more than anything else.

  3. If I keep drinking my iced soy lattes (my fav!) will I be able to run 10 mi at 5:18 pace? Seriously, those of us who run, whether or at your caliber or just to beat ourselves, know what it takes – the guts, the determination, the hours…

    That Bashful Banana sounds delish! Eat one for me!

    • I don’t know if iced soy lattes are the key…but if someone wants to pay for my habit as part of a long-term vegan athletic study…I’m in! I’m sure you’d be down too no?!

  4. I kind of like having a secret identity. When I tell people I went for a run this morning, they say, Oh, cool. But I know if I told them it was 18 or 20 miles, their jaws would drop. Knowing I *could* drop their jaws is almost as good as actually doing it. 🙂

    • Chrissy…totally agree. I like indulging in the clark kent persona…but it’s nice to take the suit off in public every once in awhile. 😉

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