I overheard one of my new coworkers talking about her goal of running a half marathon. She went on to say: “I run 3 miles, 2 or 3 days a week right now mixed in with my gym classes, spinning and strength training. I guess I should look into training plans because I know I need to start building up, but I don’t want running to take over my life. I don’t want to become one of those people who’s obsessed with running and talks about it all the time.” And immediately her eyes darted in my direction.
I skulked off to my desk thinking mean thoughts and quickly realized I shouldn’t care, because, as Barney from How I Met Your Mother would say: “I’m awesome!” I frequently feel the need to justify my love of running. To some, it’s an obsession, but to me, it’s a passion and I want to shamelessly embrace my running infatuation, my race addiction, my marathon mania—because, ha! It’s mine! I am so lucky!
On the other hand, I understand the confusion. It’s not like I’m winning any of these races, so what’s the point of signing up for so many? It’s true, I’ll never break any speed records or win prize pots. I’ve never even toyed with those thoughts because I know: I’m simply a middle-of-the-pack runner.
I’ve run more races than I can remember and I’ve completed four marathons, each of which I remember vividly. I’ve run thousands of miles in one pair of adored Asics after another and I’m besieged with bittersweet emotion each time I have to retire a pair. I sweat, A LOT. I complain, worry, over think, and yes, even obsess about my running—all of which, pales in comparison to my beloved runner’s high. I have an absolutely ridiculous sports bra tan-line. My feet are gnarly—there’s really no other word for it. And, yeah, I have a relationship with my Garmin. So what?
ALL of these things are what make me a runner—a pretty normal, average, every day runner. I know this because I’ve visited forums where runner’s dish about all of these things confirming that: 1) I AM a runner, and 2) I am completely NORMAL. Since I’ve made these riveting revelations, I’ve developed an overwhelming desire to be something MORE—to be some kind of phenomenal. I want to do something amazing. I want to make runners and non-runners alike say: “Wait a second here! You did WHAT?!?!” I want to inspire someone to wonder about their own potential… to dream a little bigger, a little crazier, and then to make it a reality.
Maybe it’s all quite egotistical and self-righteous of me, but the truth is, I need to inspire myself too. You see, I’ve hit rock bottom before. I’ve walked to the edge of despair, stared it in the face, wanted to give in, but instead turned around and started running. And as I ran, literally, I realized just how much there is to live for. And so I’ve been running and running and running and rather than finally feeling fulfilled, satisfied and content, I’ve simply grown hungrier and hungrier for more.
Growing up, I was an average kid. I tell people: “I dipped my toes in a little bit of everything,” trying out an array of sports and musical instruments and habitually, performing on a very mediocre level. While I sincerely enjoy my “wallflower” status and loathe being the center of attention, my aspirations have never been mediocrity. In fact, I believe that deep down, every one of us wants to shine somehow and to some degree. While I could tip-toe around running and racing, the bottom-line is that I don’t want to “just dabble in it.” And so, when I say—all in one breath—that: “I’m so nervous about my next marathon. I’m thinking about signing up for another marathon 3 weeks after it,” my intention is not to prove my lunacy, it’s simply my desire to tap into my unmet potential and do something extraordinary.
So I guess when people say that I’m obsessed or crazy and look at me like I’m a foolish, harebrained, lunatic, I should pat myself on the back for accomplishing my goal because the part that I overlooked is the fact that “phenomenal” and “extraordinary” are synonymous with rare, unusual and bizarre.
With that said, I’m including my racing lists… Feel free to tell me I’m crazy. I’ll take it as a compliment.
10/10/2010: Dayton River Corridor Classic Half-Marathon – REGISTERED!
10/17/2010: Long Beach Marathon – REGISTERED!
11/07/2010: Santa Clarita Marathon
—OR— Komen San Diego Race for the Cure 5K
11/25/2010: O’side Turkey Trot 5 Mile
12/05/2010: Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon – REGISTERED!
01/16/2011: Los Angeles 13.1
—OR— Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & Half
01/23/2011: Carlsbad Half-Marathon - REGISTERED!
02/06/2011: Surf City Marathon - REGISTERED!
03/20/2011: LA Marathon
04/03/2011: Carlsbad 5000
04/17/2011: La Jolla Half
05/01/2011: Flying Pig Marathon
—OR— Big Sur International Marathon
—OR— OC Marathon
06/05/2011: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon
07/31/2011: San Francisco Marathon