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?!