Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The "You're Crazy" Stare

It really is interesting listening to and seeing other peoples reactions when I tell them that I am a runner. Usually it starts out well with a congrats and great job, wish I could get out and exercise more. Which is expected as this is becoming the norm for today's society, and thus the rise in obesity in America.

But the fun ones come after when they invariably ask, "What do you run?" "What is the furthest you've ran?"

I always get that shocked look that screams "You're crazy!" Haha, I love this one, always followed up with a I know better than you do and a shake of the head. Why is it so hard to believe that I want to run a marathon, that not only do I want to run a marathon but I want to do many throughout the year as well as my life? They can't understand. They always, though, throw in the "I admire you, I wish I could do it" or "That is quite an accomplishment".

I enjoy these comments because they aren't completely off the wall and they tend to be real and meaningful comments.

But then I tell them I just ran a 50k, that I have a few more coming up and that I want to run a 50 miler next year. That look of "You're crazy" is no longer feigned, is now a set in stone, stuck on the face look. Have I lost my mind, they ask, why would anyone ever want to be running for that long and for that far? And, you know, I sincerely try and answer their questions and help them understand.

It's a passion. Just as you have in cars, or you have in computers, or you have in watching television. You know, that marathon 4 hour couch potato night that you love? Similar to that, except I am running in nature and am accomplishing something that helps act as a driving force for allowing me to realize that we really can do anything we want. This, of course, is always followed up with "You're crazy stupid, I just don't understand why you would want to put your body through all that pain and struggle for a free shirt and, maybe, a medal".

I give up, usually, and turn to the You wouldn't understand. Runners love it, and will think about running all day. Non-runners just don't understand that connection. To them running is torture. Not the same as say loving cars and saying 'non-car-lovers just wouldn't understand', because we understand that. Perhaps something that is acquired is drinking beer, but this still doesn't equate because you don't acquire a taste for running: you either like it or you don't.

This, of course, makes matters worse because now, even though I never intended this, the person thinks that I think they just couldn't understand, that they don't have the life experiences to understand, and are hurt. Which couldn't be further from the truth.

At this point I give up trying to explain to a non-runner why I would want to run for 31 miles or do a marathon. Now I just accept their know all nods and eyes rolled as they brush such a healthy activity aside as idiotic. Oh well, you win some and you lose some, and this is usually an uphill battle that won't go anywhere.

So I turn to my blogging runners and immerse myself in their running tales and stories and, most importantly, their drive and desire to keep up running.

Then I go out for a run.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

You know, I teach people that if you want something bad enough, you find a way around the barriers. The barriers are still there, many runners have bad knees, bad feet, asthma, whatever, but those are always the excuses you hear for why someone could never do what we do. It is in the motivation and the perceived results or benefits or some thing that motivates, if you want it, you will find a way around it, if not, you will see the barriers and say I can't.

As I said, I teach this, mostly to healthcare people who are trying to get patients to have this attitude about diet and lifestyle changes. However, it is one thing to teach, another to do :) I have had this attitude about running. I am letting it teach me this about the rest of my life.

Damn. I might have to copy this and post it in my blog. Certainly fits my focus of late. Thank you for spurring me to think about this. :)