Continuing this week’s manifesto on Real Running!
The USI employee swimming pool was located halfway between my house in Atwood and Tuscola 9 miles away. The closest and only opportunity we had. If I behaved (rarely) I’d get the 50 cent drop in fee, ride my bike over country roads, and hop in. What’s this got to do with running?
I was always the smallest in my class. Probably the weakest. Mom’s Benson & Hedges and Canadian Club likely contributing to my barely 6 pound birth weight. What’s this got to do with running and suffering?
I loved the pool, loved to swim, and soon found something I could do better than anyone else. Hold my breath underwater. This has everything to do with running. Found suffering I could control in an otherwise pretty shitty childhood. It would not translate until years later when I began my running career in earnest.
Relative to God Given Talent I’ve always felt my capacity for self abuse was the advantage I could have against those faster. I love the Red Line. Learned how to push myself to the absolute limits of what was given. And I became a winner in running. Shoes, Shorts, and Heart. The vast majority of those that participate in our sport today find this absurd. Why should/would a runner bleed themselves out???
Take a look around at your next “Race”. I promise you there are still those that hang on to the origin of our sport. Maybe only 1 or 2 in the event. The cat that goes balls out from the gun, holding on for dear life until the tape, that arbitrary line in the road that in a instant is the single most liberating and exhilarating experience. Doesn’t have to be the first across, not always the winner winner little miss chicken dinner.
I’ll say again, Shoes, Shorts, Heart, and nothing more. Good for anyone and everyone that gets out and quickly puts one foot in front of the other. That alone makes you a runner. But those that invest their souls are held in higher esteem by your scribe. All runners are not created equal. Those that are the very best should be recognized and celebrated as better than us (gasp!), perhaps the biggest departure I’ve seen over the last 40 years. The “We’re All Winners, Everybody Gets A Medal” nonsense so deeply ingrained into today’s society leaving this old man bewildered.
Tomorrow I start dissecting the just released “The State of Running” by Jens Jakob Andersen, RunRepeat.com and the IAAF. The first truly global analysis of running tends over the last three decades. If you have soft centers you might want to stay away.