Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How do you do it?

You learn to tie a tie by tying a tie. You learn to run by running.
I tend to keep a low running profile with non-running folks. They just don't seem to understand that it's perfectly normal to run 18 miles at 6AM on a Sunday morning through humidex values in the +30 degree range (well, perhaps it's not perfectly normal, but it's good enough for the peeps I hang with).  I try to keep a low profile but my reputation as a runner, such as it is, is out and about.  When the conversation of running comes up in social situations someone invariably says...

Mike's a runner. He runs marathons you know.

I cringe. I know it's coming... the bait... the dreaded rhetorical question.

I couldn't run around the block without do you do it?

Now, it's taken me a few years to realize that this is a rhetorical question.  They really don't want to know how I do it.

They actually could not care less how I do it. 

Sometimes I'll say playfully, Now don't get me started...

... and then, fully baited, thinking they really want to know how I do it...

... I'll naively meander into explaining my training regime, the miles, the loneliness, the early nights and even earlier mornings, the dehydration, the advantages of speed work, the value of hills, the glycemic index, how to maintain protein balance as a vegetarian, the energy of the start line, the pureness of the finish line, and on and on.  And then I notice the nervous glances towards the other side of the room and the glazed eyes and I realize, drat, I've been baited...


Nope, they really don't want to hear any of this.  When they ask "How do you do it?".

They're really saying, Man, your freaking crazy!

And that may be so, but at least I have a passion, and let's face it, we're all crazy in our own way.

Now when they ask...

I couldn't run around the block without puking. How do you do it?

I reply

There was a time when I couldn't run around the block either. But after a while the puking stopped and my heart rate levelled out and my breathing slowed, I dropped 20 pounds, and I started to feel pretty damn good about myself.  Next thing you know, I'm signed up for a half-marathon, then a full! Come for a run with me and we'll talk more.

If they're really interested they'll ask more questions and perhaps even take me up on a short run.  I'll gladly talk for hours about running if someone is genuinely interested but I've become wary of the bait.

If you're interested in how I do it... how I train for the Queen City Marathon on September 8, here's my nine week schedule.  Click to super-size. Come join me.

It's a good day to be alive.