I cut my hair. My running hair. And my beard. The beard was dead weight, but the hair…that was my accessory, as inseparable to me as a garmin is to some. It was my speed gauge, I like to joke, but it certainly did offer a nice shadowed profile on sunny days.
I always said when I quit running I’d cut my hair…deluding myself into going underground. Separating my identity from my personhood, so the painful reminders of what I could no longer do wouldn’t have to be addressed. It doesn’t work. Others still register shock when I tell them I didn’t run the local marathon they just asked about. They still recognize me. The only person that doesn’t recognize me is myself. The shadow that bounds along side me in the woods is a stranger. A well groomed poindexter, enacting the feel good ritual the rest of conservative society loves to embrace. I don’t say hello to that stranger…he repulses me, so I try to outrun him. The pounding lungs signal the necessary transformation, cutting my identity from that “runner”….”jogger”. I don’t know who he is with that closely cropped hair. He looks stupid. Nothing signals his speed. He could be out “taking in the sights” for all I know. That’s not me. Not when I’m running anyways.
I hit the parking lot and my legs are filled with the weight of effort. The pain begins to creep into the deepest muscle fibers, entering and hardening almost immediately. It feels good to hurt, because poindexters don’t hurt. I do.
The shadow catches up and the stranger’s silhoutte begins to come back into focus. I think I know that guy. He has a lot of ambition…but he doesn’t really know what to do with it right now. I should probably sit down with him and have a long conversation about focus and perseverance, hardship and endurance, accomplishment and satisfaction. He reminds me of myself a little..if he’d just grow out that stupid looking haircut.