Monday, 28 October 2013

The eternal question

Hey all,

Today, I faced a tough question. A question that sends all runners back to the drawing board to re-evaluate their motives in life. I faced it in a physio room from one of the X Women Rugby players. The question came in a discrete, subtle form. Little did she know, it made my heart skip a beat. As she was looking at my muscular legs opposed to my scrawny upper body, my short shorts split all the way up to the waist, my calves splattered with dirt, and my sweaty, rain-stricken hair, she asked, matter-of-factly : Why do you like running?

She wasn't expecting a 20 second pause. Nor was she expecting the answer that was flowing through my mind. I could have told her that I like the feeling of finishing a hard workout as much as I hate the feeling of missing one altogether. I love the feeling of getting into shape as much as I hate the off-season. I love winning a race almost as much as I hate losing one. I love being able to get away with eating a bit of junk food by writing it off as 'carbo-loading. I love meeting people through the sport, I love the opportunities the sport brings. I realize that I cannot recall one time during training that I did not have at least one part of my body sore, but I also realize that without the aches and pains of running, I feel empty. I love the commitment associated with running, I love the improvement that it brings. It's a part of me that I can't live without.

I didn't feel very philosophical, and didn't want to go into brutal detail with the rugby team, so I came up with a much simpler answer.

'If you had to ask, you won't understand'


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The long and winding road


It has been a while, but there just wasn't much to talk about. Until today.

I've recently gotten off injury and began running again with the StFX X-men. Best running experiences of my life so far, these guys are beauties and I am super pumped to be able to spend my next four years with this team. Once I started running with no pain, excitement took over and I took off like a bat out of hell, running 90-100k weeks off a summer of sheer and complete elliptical bliss, or madness, depends how you look at it. Those two weeks were a blast, I tell you. Not having to think about anything but getting back into shape and gutting out the workouts en route to a challenging first XC season in the AUS. All fun and games, until knee pain came along and has now been sidetracking me for the last few days.

This has gotten me thinking. Why was I so stupid? Like every runner out there would understand, I felt the urge to run myself to exhaustion to compensate for my lifeless summer. If you are not a runner and do not understand my mental process, think of it this way: A smoker deprived of cigarettes for a few months would become insane, as I was for a while. Once he would be able to smoke again, he would probably go on a rather unhealthy bender. My bender consisted of doing a lot of running, more than my body eventually could handle, which brings me to my new theory on the sport. I guess Aesop was more than a turtle-loving storyteller when he came up with the Tortoise and the Hare nursery rhyme. He was on to something. Maybe slow and steady really does win the race...

We see this everywhere in life; if the NHL season would be based on the first 5 games, the Leafs would have a few more colour pictures of the Stanley Cup on their wall. If you could become a businessman in a month, everyone would do it and enjoy measly 4 day weeks in university. If you could solve your New Year's resolution in the first two weeks of January, gyms would go out of business by Valentine's Day. An amazing start doesn't necessarily lead to an amazing finish. We are so impatient to try to master our craft that we get frustrated when it doesn't fall into our hands immediately. This makes us overdo, overtrain, and overanalyse everything when the answer is the same for 99% of occasions. Success is gradual. We cannot make hares of ourselves and dive into something overzealously, because that pool is shallow, and we will eventually hit the bottom quicker than we have planned. Instead, we need to grow in our practice, and improve slightly every day, until we reach our goal. This will eventually make it feel more worthwhile.

So from now on I will model myself like the tortoise. Those things can live up to 200 years, so they must know what's up. That's a lot of time to improve.