I’ve been asking myself this question for the past couple of weeks leading up to this years Comrades Marathon – which incidentally I decided not to run based on the fact that I have just not done enough training because of my injury, to have an enjoyable day – which would make the 11 or so hours it usually takes me, rather long and tiresome.
But, having made that decision I have been plagued with feelings of being left out and thoughts of ‘just trying’ although my reasons are purely valid. My mom said it is my heart saying one thing and my brain (logic) another, which has led me to this question – Does running define me?
I don’t think I’ve been a runner for long enough to have it feel like my life however it does feel like a large part of it, and sitting on the sidelines this year I have no doubt, is going to be a battle for me. Why do I feel like this? I had said to myself at the end of last years run that I was done for a while with the Comrades, and wanted to focus on other things – which I have (I did the African X a few weeks ago, but that deserves a post all of its own), but then why the angst about not taking part this year.
I certainly am happy that I don’t have the nerves which seem to take over at this point, and the various aches and pains which plague runners leading up to the race. I’m also happy that I get to spend the whole day with my dad supporting other runners from our club, including my mom! I’m not going to miss the battle with my brain to shut out the noise from my body when nearing the 70km mark and you really start feeling the distance on your feet and legs.
I guess if I look at what I am going to miss, it may not sound like much but I guess they all have their role to play:
- I’ll miss running with friends and making new ones on the way (Yes Julie, I’m going to miss running with you my friend)
- I’m going to miss the excitement and anticipation at the start, standing in a crowd of over 10 000 people, listening to Chariots of Fire with the whole day ahead of you.
- I’m going to miss the camaraderie at 75km when you have less than 18km left and although your body is saying “I’ve had enough I’m sooo tired”, your brain and everyone around you is saying “Almost there, come on now not too much longer”.
- I’m going to miss running into the stadium to thousands of screaming people and crossing the line with friends (That’s you Craig)
- But I think most of all, I’m going to miss that sense of achievement and the absolute certainty in knowing, as you get that medal around your neck, that you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to.
I guess this leaves me asking – Does running define YOU?