The way that most people think about progress is as if progress is like walking down a street to a store. You start at one place and then you start moving forward, occasionally being forced to stop at a light when crossing a street but never being forced to take a detour. People think about progress that way because that’s how progress looks. But that isn’t really how progress works, it isn’t like walking down the street, it’s like cleaning grime out of an iPhone charging port.
“We’re gonna get drunk, we’re gonna get laid, and we’re gonna win state but not tonight.” Just kidding that’s not the real quote that I want to talk about, but it’s just so good and funny. The real quote is by some random guy who yells out a speeding car window, “Billingsley! Party at Taylor's house NOW Billingsley! Gonna get wasted! Yeah! Billingsley! BILLINGSLEY!” LOL Just kidding again.
Running is special because it’s an opportunity to share space with people you care about, it’s a chance for honest self-evaluation and self-improvement, and it’s an occasion to do the best that you can in the moment that you’re given and be ok with whatever that may be. That stuff doesn’t get shared enough. It especially doesn’t get shared in the upper eschelons of running by those who have the biggest followings. I’m certainly not done with the elite side of the sport, I love my job and I want to do it as well as I can for as long as I can. But, I also want to take a breath now and then, and remember that competing is a tiny sliver of running, and I have been pretty god damn lucky to have experienced the stuff that makes up the rest of the pie. The important stuff
she asked me a question that I can’t remember and probably didn’t fully comprehend at the time, because I remember just kind of rambling and feeling like I was going to cry for some reason. I wasn’t sad in any way, I was just emotionally and physically so depleted that when I started talking, I guess my brain was like, “uhhh we don’t know what to do, so you’re gonna cry now.”
This literally just happened, I was standing in the kitchen of our apartment in St. Moritz, adding hummus to a turkey sandwich, as it were, and I realized that my build-up for the Frankfurt Marathon is over and that made me sad but also happy, and then I realized that experiencing both of those emotions simultaneously feels really weird. We (Scott Smith, Matt Llano, and I) did our last workout this morning. Not our last hard workout, or our last long workout, or our last turnover based workout. Our last workout, period before the Frankfurt Marathon
My negativity is not the belief that I can’t do something, it’s the acceptance that running is hard, workouts are uncomfortable, and racing is very very painful. These are not pleasant moments, so to try to create a happy place in your mind to cope with discomfort seems backwards to the Zen apprentice sitting here typing away for his internet blog. We are not supposed to cope with things, we are supposed to experience them. We shouldn’t block out the physical or emotional sensations we are having, we should feel them in their entirety; good (rarely), bad (often), or somewhere in between.