As I sit outside typing this on a warm spring day, my son is running laps around our house for fun. He’s happy that Mileage Club has started up again so he has an excuse just to run at recess. I’m glad he enjoys running since it’s such good exercise. However, I’m a bit worried that he’ll grow up and become a runner.
I’m painting with a wide brush here, but most runners I know are...well, to be frank, annoying. They somehow have come to think that running is an achievement akin to performing brain surgery or ending world hunger. They tell everyone where they run, how often they run, how far they run, and the time in which they’ve run (often punctuated with, "Yeah, baby!!"). Maybe the extra endorphins produced by running messes with their perspective, but I’ve got a News Flash: it’s RUNNING.
I drove past a friend of mine running on the road recently. He’s 50 and he was running like a marine, at an incredibly fast and steady pace. I was in awe, mostly because he has never mentioned he can run like that. He who runs without persistent rhetoric is a rare breed of runner, indeed.
As you can guess, I am not a runner. I do work out every day, but my standard line has always been I only run if someone is chasing me. We all know running takes discipline, which is something to be admired, but only for those poor souls who hate it and still do it. I know a few of those people. They run without asking for fanfare when they’re the ones who ought to be soliciting the praise. But the runners who tend to tout their own skills are the ones who love to run, so I’m not sure the where discipline fits in their case. That would be like saying it takes discipline for me to eat Moe’s burritos every day. Sure, I’d have to put in the time to do it, maybe there would be some days I’d rather not, but it wouldn’t be considered a hardship. Clocked a bean burrito in sixteen minutes. Beat yesterday’s time even with three extra chips on my plate. Tomorrow I’m adding another salsa. Yeah, baby!!
Perhaps the self-lionizing comes from the fact that running takes consistency, endurance, and strength to accomplish. Those adjectives can also describe vacuuming, especially if you have carpets on both floors of your house. Why aren’t the vaccuumers looking for public affirmation on a regular basis? Could it be because they know it's VACUUMING?
Maybe because I’m not a runner, I’m out of the loop. Maybe they all know something I don't. Perhaps it's one of the remaining acceptable forms of bragging, along with boasting about your kids. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about that.