Well, so much for my Ayurvedic-inspired lifestyle change. It’s after 11:00 p.m. and here I am slightly pissed.
I can’t say I feel particularly guilty about it, though. I attended my first ever trail running class today, and it was fun! I’m used to road running, and have run three marathons, but nothing can beat trail running. Midwestern Man and I ran a 10K trail race this summer, and it was interesting how different a reaction we had to it. He found it boring and almost frightening because you have to watch out constantly that you don’t fall over rocks or trip on tree roots. This is exactly what I loved about it, though! I’ve very rarely experienced the so-called runner’s high by running on the road but I totally get into a zone when running on the trail. It’s precisely the risk factor which appeals – there’s no time to “ponder life’s complexities” (sorry, couldn’t resist a Morrissey quote) when you’re taking care not to break your ankle or are admiring the scenery.
Also, even though I know it’s not good for me, I do like the fact that the trail running group goes out for drinks afterwards. I joined a really hardcore running group this January, but I dropped out almost immediately because I just couldn’t deal with the anal retentiveness of the runners involved. All they did was sleep, eat, work and run. I tried to talk to them but every single conversation revolved around running. It didn’t seem healthy to me. This isn’t me. Despite all suggestions to the contrary on this blog, I love meeting people, and I get sad if I don’t. Trail runners have a reputation for endurance and socializing, so this suits me to the tee.
I found out tonight that one of the members of the “hard core” group ran a sub-3-hour marathon recently. This is very impressive for an amateur but, well, it’s still an amateur time, and he had given up his entire life for that! It just doesn’t seem worth making so many sacrifices for a sport which is essentially a hobby. I guess if it makes him happy, I shouldn’t judge but, still, it seems like an empty life to me. A self-indulgent, self-absorbed life, too, because, let’s face it, running is a very individualistic, solitary sport. I have met single-minded, obsessive people before but they’ve usually been artists or writers, and at least they’ve grown intellectually by focusing on their chosen field. Running, though? All you seem to be focusing on is your body.
On the other hand, it did occur to me that I reacted so strongly to this guy because, quite simply, I’m jealous of him. I’m not jealous of his speed because, well, if I trained hard enough I could be really fucking fast. I’m a natural runner, and if I really put my mind to it I could be great. But that’s just the problem, though…I don’t put my mind to it at all. And that’s why I’m jealous of him, because he does try hard and persevere. When I first met this guy, he really wasn’t a spectacular runner at all but now he’s fantastic. Sure, he must have some natural talent, but, ultimately, he succeeded because of sheer willpower, determination and hard work.
There are several things in my life which I could easily put more effort into because I’m good at them – singing, writing and running are the most obvious. And, on top of these main interests there are a zillion other less important things which interest me. There are people out there who are good at multi-tasking or who work at, and succeed in, several fields at once. I don’t succeed in anything! My focus is splintered off into too many areas all at once. I don’t really persevere in anything.
I do still think Mr Sub-3-hour-marathon is an empty shell of a person because running consumes him 24/7. But! But! But! I feel guilty for thinking badly of him because, ultimately, he can do what I can’t: stick at something and excel.
My main talent seems to be sitting on the sidelines to pooh-pooh the efforts of others, and telling myself that I could easily do better if I put my mind to it…without ever getting off my fat arse to try.