Monday, March 24, 2014

Shared Stupidity

“It’s nice to run with someone who has experience.”

A greater compliment has never been paid to me as a runner. It was especially nice that it came from a cyclist I admire and respect.  He is somewhat of a newbie runner.

To be honest, I was happy to run with him even though our paces were different. Sharing “my experience” was not my motivation for accepting the invitation to run on dark roads at o’early hour.

I was out there to enjoy some time with a friend and his running group.

The first thing I realized was that these runners were painfully uneducated about the ways of the road.  When I asked if they had any lights, four pairs of eyes looked back at me with blank stares. “Um. No. We run on sidewalks, we don’t need lights”.


“You need lights.”

It occurs to me that helping a newbie runner be "safe in the dark" and "learn to pace" isn’t the only thing experience has brought me in the last year. It has also brought me patience.

Patience with myself, with my body, and with my ongoing injuries that seem to be ever present.

Yes, runners are hard on their bodies, but invariably there always seem to be those who are injured and those who are never injured. It feels very unfair, from my perspective as one of the frequently injured runners.

Maybe the reason I’m frequently injured had to do with a lack of patience.  My “I’m going to run that race no matter what” attitude hasn't done my body any good, and it certainly hasn't earned the respect of my fellow runners.

To be honest, up through 2012 I took sadistic pride in running through pain.  For better or worse.  Usually for worse, according to my Chiropractor/Witch Dr.

Talking to other runners, I realize that this is a shared trait.

It’s talked about at finish lines, race expos, group runs, water coolers, and wedding receptions. Anywhere you find runners talking about running, you will find at least one person talking about that time they ran on some horrific injury in the name of finishing a race they had trained to run. There are stories about waiting until after race day to get an MRI or Bone Scan.  THere's even a few about "That time I checked my 'boots' at the race start and picked it up at the finish line."

I’ve heard all those stories, and told a few myself.

Shared misery, one of my favorite topics in running and one that runners Love to brag about, is only trumped by shared stupidity.

I am starting to believe that “experienced” runners who equate being a badass with bragging about that time they went running on an injury are doing harm to those newbie runners who admire them

Aside from that, running through pain isn't something that could be labeled as courageous.  Because every runner knows, there’s nothing more badass than having the courage to sit out or volunteer on race day.  For me, that is akin to staring death in the eye and living to tell the tale.

So this year I've taken a slow start to running.  I've been patient and slow with my mileage build up, mostly because I've been in Nursing School.  But the other day I verbalized, "I can't run because I don't run 2 days in a row right now".

It was a really big step, and I think it was in the right direction.

~savor the run~

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