There was a time when I wrote on this blog incessantly, essentially every day, because I really had little else going on, but running, and it seemed like the blog was more a personal journal than a forum to communicate to others, which meant I didn’t mind the narcissistic nature of the process. Over time, as I realized my “audience” was growing and growing, I felt more and more confined, more restricted, and more accountable to what I was putting out to others. This writing psychology has both it’s benefits and drawbacks, but I’ve found myself becoming more crippled than focused, and I wish that wasn’t the case. I also found myself losing focus of what matters with what I was trying to communicate. Yes, this blog was really about my running more than anything else, EVERY LITTLE DETAIL, if I’m being honest, but my intent was always to push veganism in both direct and subtle ways through my own experiences with running. When cancer entered the picture, things got a little off track in regards to those parameters. Don’t get me wrong, this is a personal blog, so I don’t regret sharing my experiences with cancer, but as the days blend into others I continue to consider how I can keep veganism and animal justice at the forefront of my communication. If I’m being blunt, sharing my experiences about cancer is really for my own catharsis and no one else. If I’m being more than blunt…my cancer doesn’t matter. It’s my own burden to manage and should mean little else to others. What really matters, when all is said and done, is how each of us relate to everyone else. And when I say “each of us” and “everyone else” I mean everyone, every animal, being, every human and non-human being on this planet. If someone found inspiration in my words and actions and that helped them build a better life for themselves….I don’t know, great? Good for them? If, however, someone finds inspiration in my words and actions and this compels them to treat others with respect and to stop being complicit in the enslavement, domestication and suffering of other beings…well, THAT is what will be the measure of our existence when the physical body falls away.
Where I struggle with putting veganism at the forefront of my writings is that, often, I don’t know just what to say. The crisis of our current relationship towards non-human animals is so immediate and so severe that it feels wrong to put anything into the world that isn’t as convincing and as deeply considered as can possibly be. To simply say, “Go vegan” feels insulting to the necessity of actually going vegan, to conveying the physical and psychological torments that animals are currently experiencing within the confines of industrial animal agriculture, and to the moral imperatives and intellectual depths that are grounded in the value-based constructs of the cognitive human experience. On the other hand, saying nothing feels worse than insulting. It feels permissive.
I lay out these personal difficulties because going forward I plan to write posts that deal very little with running and cancer and, rather, solely with veganism. If you come to this blog for something other than veganism, I don’t know, sorry? But not sorry. It’s my blog, I do what I want! (he says like a spoiled child). I will, of course, write about running and cancer and all that, but those are personal experiences that really have little to do with anyone outside of myself, whereas veganism is pertinent to everyone, whether you recognize it or not. I hope to be able to find ways to fold animal justice into my discussions on running and cancer, but I guarantee nothing…just that I plan on thought vomiting on here and if it feels weird or different to you, this was your heads up.
Oh…and this may be off-putting to some, which is not my intention, but I’ll be disabling comments. If you feel more than compelled to respond to anything I write on here, feel free to email me.
To close all this out, or open it up, whatever…tomorrow I’m running the Dances With Dirt trail marathon. I signed up for this marathon a couple months ago because I wanted to test myself out at this distance, but with no stress and primarily for the funsies, of which both are possible at an absurd race like Dances With Dirt. DWD is one of those trail races where the course is routed through the most ridiculous of terrain, making any sense of pace and consistency a non-issue. I’m not sure anyone has even completed this distance under 4 hours, if that tells you anything. I ran this as part of the team relay back in 2012, and remember sections of stairs that seem to climb forever, running down a ski slope, trouncing through 1/2 a mile of thigh high water, and other absurdities my brain has probably protectively repressed. And those were just my portions of the course. Who knows what the full 26.2 entails, which is exactly why I signed up for this. I just wanted to get into the woods and have some fun.
Tomorrow will be 3 weeks out from the Carmel marathon and if I was a smart runner (spoiler alert…I’m not), I wouldn’t even run this and would have taken more time off from the race, but I didn’t. So here we are. My right leg is a little sketchy from a hip alignment issue that has always been the plague of my running existence, which has caused some intermittent tightness and soreness in a tendon behind my knee, that has me a little concerned for what it might feel like deeper into the race. On the other hand (or leg?) trail running tends to stress my body significantly less than a simple road run, so here’s to hoping everything is a non-issue. Aside from all that, I’m excited to put in some climbing and descending (and ducking and scrambling…and probably falling) over the coming 26.2 miles. There are four other distances (10k, 1/2, 50k, 50m) and a team relay going on at the same time as my race, so the crazy is going to be at it’s highest volume and I’m really looking forward to sharing the course with a bunch of other runners instead of just being out by myself. I have no idea what sort of competition this race brings, so I don’t know if I’ll be running alone or trailing anyone else, but I’m also not so concerned with that either (he tells himself over and over again).
It may seem of little consequence to everything else, but I’m actually really excited to be running in my “Artie” t-shirt from Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary, of which I am a board member. I designed the shirt for their farmers market booth where they sell all their products to create revenue that goes back into helping take care of the animals brought to the sanctuary and to also educate the public through vegan awareness campaigns. I, rightfully, cut the sleeves off the shirt and WALLA! a running jersey. The race itself celebrates a “hog roast” for all the participants when the event is over, so cognitive dissonance (cognitive disgust if we’re being truthful) fully recognized, it feels appropriate to represent veganism and one of the beings rescued from such an insulting, fucked up fate that will be the animal killed for this event. In my own way, this is intertwining a bit of activism into my recreation, and adds motivation to finding my way as far as I can to the front of the field, training willing.
So here we go, in all the ways laid out above. With always more to say, and in the most effective way possible, for now, go vegan.