Wednesday, December 28, 2011
It's all about me
Yesterday was the last of our numerous family Christmases. It was the most stressful, since we were hosting and thus had to clean, but also the easiest because there were no gifts to buy. Instead of being centered around opening presents, it featured a lot of conversation. And cookies. Oh my gosh, if I don't get moving I'll still be wearing those cookies in May.
Because one of my cousins is interested in adventure racing and my sister-in-law runs and mountain bikes, both of those things came up, as did my running. I have three brothers: one, Jim, has been running and biking and being way tougher than me for a long time; one is just starting to run after some prodding from (and losing a bet to) his wife; and one is pretty scornful of the whole endeavor.
I heard the usual [sniff]I'd never run a marathon, but the comment that really got me then and is still irritating me today was I bet I could train for two weeks and crush you in a 5K. He's probably right, and that was my response. The fact is that I'm not a natural athlete. I've had to work my ass off to be even mediocre. Running doesn't come easy to me, and mountain biking definitely doesn't come easy to me, so saying that you'd easily beat me in those isn't really bragging.
This is where I'm really glad that my running and riding is for me. It's not about impressing someone else, it's not about beating someone else (not even my nemesis); it's not about places or times. Ultimately, it's about finding and answer to the question Can I? It's about the joy of the attempt, the thrill of hard-won accomplishment, and the spirit of adventure. And since I set my own grading scale, "almost" does count, "I tried" is acceptable, and "I can't" is only temporary.