A whole lot of things came up in the comments in the last post. For now, I'm going to leave it there and get back to running. One interesting point made was the difference between "serious" and "casual" runners. I struggle with this. It's not attractive to be a running snob. Yet I do think there's a divide. Running has changed quite a bit over the years. The marathon has gone from something only "crazy" people do to another box to check off on a life experience. There's been plenty written about how slow marathons have gotten, why Oprah is to blame, the charity rackets, expensive big city marathons, etc. I'm not going to rehash those.
So what makes a serious runner? To me, it certainly isn't speed. There are many people who are athletically gifted. Is it miles? I think that's part of it. More to the point is commitment -- breaking through from a couple times a week to a training regimen with goals in mind. I don't care if the goal is a 3-hour marathon or completing a 10k. What I find so great about running is anyone can do it. Thin, fat, fast, slow, young, old. I have just as much respect for people who train diligently to run the marathon in five hours as the guys doing 2:30. The other month, I passed an older woman a few times during a run in a driving rain in Central Park. She couldn't have been going any faster than 11-minute pace. I see her all the time, grinding out miles with her face twisted in a look of fierce determination. That night was no different. I was doing like 12 or something, totally beat. There was an unspoken bond because we were dealing with the same stuff.
The idea for this blog sprung from the idea that runners fight the same struggle. The serious runner embraces the struggle; accepts pain as part of the deal; and knows the real achievement is the training, not the race itself. My favorite running novel is "Once a Runner," a sometimes schmaltzy story of Quentin Cassidy, a mythical miler. The author summed up his ethos this way: "It was all joy and woe, hard as diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension." There's truth to that.
11 miles, 1:24:30