>THS: I do what I want

April 14, 2009 § 10 Comments

>As I look at the next 10 (and by 10 I mean 18) weeks of training, I start getting that “oh crap” feeling in my stomach. Not because I have 5 weekends planned of 50+ miles, or 3 weeks of 100+ miles. It’s not because of the competition that I know will be at any of my upcoming races, either. Instead, it’s because I know that in the next ten weeks I will have to put up with people offering fun weekend trips to the beach, sporadic happy hours that will surely last into the night, bachelorette parties and visits with friends I haven’t spent quality time with in years. After hearing “no, I can’t go…I’ll be running/biking/racing” a couple times a few things will happen. One, I’ll probably stop getting invited. I’ll hear the murmurs of “The fun alyssa is gone” and “The fun alyssa never comes out anymore” until I’m finally phased out of the mass texts announcing when and where the fun is to happen. I’ll get weird glances when I reply that I’m missing a friends wedding or something else that’s their once-in-a-lifetime moment for “a race.”

So why do I do it? Why do I dare ask my best friend Dani to schedule her wedding around my Ironman? Why do I RSVP ‘no’ to other important events…and not feel guilty about it? Why would I rather spend a free weekend at a race to support my friends, instead of spending that weekend with those who don’t run? What is it about what I do, that keeps me at peace with my selfish lifestyle?

I’m tempted to go with the old adage of “if you have you ask, you’ll never understand.” In many ways, that’s true. For instance, my old roommates really never will understand.

Yet in the search for a more substantial answer, I came up with the most simplistic realization. I love to compete, and I love to win. The personal satisfaction that I draw from pushing my body to the limit, and maybe – just maybe – coming out on top, is worth it. I have always known that I have a hard time feeling sympathetic for people about things that I don’t understand. For instance: allergies. I don’t get them. I don’t have them, I don’t know what it’s like, and it’s hard for me to feel bad for those who do. I think you’re making it all up. Same with people who have trouble sleeping. The only time that I ever had issues with that was because of roommates, and 2 Tylenol PMs later, boom, I’m asleep. On the other hand, the thrill of competition is something that I know well, and I value. I want to experience that as much as I can, and I want to help others experience it too – because I truly know how great it can be.

Now, I’m not completely heartless. I do wish that I could do it all. I wish that I could be at every party, every wedding, every whatever because I do care about my friends. And hopefully they know that. I also would love to be able to take true vacation time from my job, and not have to use it all for races. Maybe when I get married (gag me) I’ll rearrange my priorities and I’ll regret all the “me” time I take these days…But, maybe not.

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§ 10 Responses to >THS: I do what I want

  • THE KRIS says:

    >mostly i just feel sorry for people who don’t do what we do. i know that sounds condescending, and it is, but i stand by it. there is an enjoyment that we have that they will never understand, feel, or realize the beauty of, and that is sad. on the other hand, i find running more enjoyable for the fact that most people not only don’t get it, but actively avoid it. most of us do little of real value. we can’t all save lives or change the world, but i would argue that spending so much time training brings not only physical strength and endurance, but a level of introspection and self awareness (both physical and mental) that is of great value. i think it’s interesting that you, ryan and fbg are all pondering the whys of running. it never really occurred to me that running should, or could be about anything other than oneself.oh, and don’t worry about being off the fun list… that happens with age anyway, you are just speeding the process a bit. there’s always the early-bird special at denny’s to look forward to.

  • cgb says:

    >Don’t feel sorry for us.The enjoyment that you feel when running that “others will never understand, feel, or realize the beauty of” can be the same feeling that others can get from any other organized sport, or cooking, or school research, or any other activity/hobby.Allow me to turn that around.I feel sorry for you that you will never understand, feel, or realize the beauty of writing a beautiful piece of music that is performed and enjoyed by millions, and I think that is sad./not trying to be a dick here, just trying to add a little perspective. Heck, if I was being a dick I’d post this anonymously.-colin

  • THE KRIS says:

    >as i said, we can’t all save lives, or write music, but we can run. and some of us do. lucky us.

  • fbg says:

    >I agree with Kris: running has always been about oneself. I just get tired of hearing people talk about the sport like it’s something larger than that.Saving lives is larger than that.And, yes, we can all write music, just as all of us can run. (excepting the inconveniently disabled, of course).

  • EL says:

    >”So why do I do it?”1. You do it because you are the female RM. 2. Because it makes you feel superior!3. It gives you great poop stories.

  • RM says:

    >I will murder you cgb. I’ve seen you run so you have to know what’s up.I write sweet music like “crab cakes: the remix, part I” and “ezpass to my heart”DENNY’s is sweet no matter what age you are. GRAND SLAM!Saving lives is not larger than anything. It’s about a quest to be god. Sometimes people are just supposed to die. I don’t know why we have to interfere all the time.And I don’t think I ponder the why of running as much as I ponder why the F does running make me its bitch so much? Seriously. I give and give and give and all running does is take.

  • alyssa says:

    >First, Ryan is the female AG. I may be a few years younger, but I am sure we can check the records and I was in the 100th percentile for “awesome” at birth.Second, running does save lives (italicize the does…I can’t figure that out). Chew on that.Third, I can play the piano.Fourth, survival of the fittest, bitches.

  • Andrew says:

    >Dude… awes post!

  • RM says:

    >Alyssa. Here's how to italicize< i > words < / i >Only no spaces inbetween the characters.And I am not a version of anyone.

  • B.Gill says:

    >ahhh yes, the life of a twenty-something year-old ultrarunner. i too feel your pain! luckily the parties are year long, whereas training and racing are only seasonal (or at least they should be for recovery purposes).

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