Disclaimer: If you get easily annoyed by people talking about running and their running accomplishments, you may want to bypass this post.
As a runner, I talk about running — quite often.
Running is as important to me as the food I put into my body and the people I choose to take part in my life. So, why wouldn’t I talk about it if I talk about all the great food I eat and my awesome friends??
But, the problem arises when you talk about running with non-runners (or, sometimes even those who do not run as much as you do). They feel like you are bragging. They give you snide comments (all meant to be “funny”) like, “Oh, are you going to go run five miles now?” when you head out of the office for the day.
The honest truth is that you probably are going to do five miles, or maybe even seven. But, you just brush off their question with a, “Yeah, maybe,” when the real answer is, “Yeah, of course. I am marathon training!”
They ask you why you run. You tell them why. They ask you what makes running 26.2 miles fun. You tell them. The only way to make them see that you are not the crazy one is to put the “crazy label” on those ultra marathoners. They are the crazy ones! You don’t tell them that you secretly scan the internet for upcoming trail races and have been eyeing that 30-miler. (An ultra marathon is any more than 26.2 miles).
Even for the most “successful” runners, running does not come easy. We work for our times. We go to sleep early. We wake up early. We (sometimes) watch what we eat. We refrain from consuming (too much) alcohol. We develop healthy habits. We never quit. We never stop dreaming. We get up when we fall. We rest when we need to rest (which is just as difficult because we want to be out there running).
But, above all: We run. And we run. And we run. Because we want to be running.
We all run for different reasons. Running has brought me closer to people. Running has taught me a lot about myself. And yes, running has punished me (on many occasions).
I don’t think I’m alone. Many of my friends have spoken of similar situations where they have been “put down” for running or have felt embarrassed sharing their running-related accomplishments with others. If it ever sounds like I am bragging, I am probably just very excited about a goal I have just achieved or a time I just crushed.
And, no accomplishment is too small or insignificant. I think sometimes people mistake the fact that I run marathons to equate that I am fast. (I have gotten faster, but I am not fast in the eyes of most). They assume a 5K is a walk in the park for me. It’s not! In fact, because I have not been training specifically for 5Ks in several years, that race distance is extremely painful for me. My lungs feel like they are going to burst. Everything is in pain from the first step. So, whether you’re proud of the fact that you got off the sofa and went on a walk-jog around the lake, or busted out a marathon PR, go tell your friends about it. Or, tell me! Even when I see Facebook posts from people I haven’t talked to in ages or people on Twitter who I have never met in person share their running victories, I get excited. I’m proud of them.
If the choice is to either talk about running or not talk about running … I’m going to talk about running.
Otherwise, I’d be left to talk about work or the neighbor’s cat who stalks me or the weather … and you’d get bored of that really quickly.