Yesterday I was talking with a friend about my running. He thinks I should start running half marathons; I think I should conquer 5ks first. Anyway, I told him my planned progression to running halfs, and he said that it was good I was passionate about something.
Me? Passionate about running?
Eh, it's more of a stubborn, dogged determination because a track coach I work with told me I couldn't run and I shouldn't run. Actually told me it wasn't something I was capable of doing, and it wasn't in the spirit of a dare.
Oh no he didn't! (Yes, he really did.) It was like he was denying me permission to try. Well, I didn't need his permission. And about a month later I ran a 5k without any preparation whatsoever. (My months of weightlifting at the gym don't really count as running prep.) I didn't even understand that a little warm-up walk ahead of time would be wise. Or a cool-down. Or stretching.
I suppose I had some angels running along with me because I didn't get injured. It was just incredibly difficult to do. I felt like I was failing through the whole race, but at least I wasn't last, though I was close to it. I didn't place in my age group and there aren't any photos of me having survived that run, but that's okay. It's par for the course when you don't have anybody there to cheer you on. And I learned a lot about the mind-game I have to go through to keep going.
Planning to run more races is less about failing to win a race (never gonna happen) and more about me improving my time. It's something to do, pseudo-social. I mean, there are other people there, but they aren't going to stand around chatting with me. That's what their friends and family are there for. :) This is just for me, and as long as I accept that, I won't be disappointed.
So, passionate? No, not about running. At least not in 2012. Not sure I'm capable of being passionate about anything anymore. The times I've been merely excited about something, there were always plenty of people ready to pour cold water on it. Nobody wants to share my excitement about anything, and some people are just damn lazy. They'd rather just lie there watching TV, after all.
What I've learned is this: unless you are passionate about cheering someone else on, they don't want anything to do with you. It's a good sign you don't belong in their life, or they would show some sign of life at your involvement. They might perk up a bit when they see you. When they don't, I always take it that I've failed, rather than they're just being a jerk. Some part of me knows that's wrong, but when a person is used to being beaten down, they will always flinch at the threat of sudden contact. Like retraining any animal, the impulse to recoil has to be exhausted by repeated affectionate touching. Most people are too wrapped up in themselves to care about the effect they have on others anyway.
I suppose my passion has been trampled and exhausted, much as my trust has been. If I had any hope of actually winning any part of a race, I might get passionate about that. For now, I just want to finish with a better time. My body isn't the right shape for running fast anymore, so if I put any hope into winning, I'll end up disappointed. Those days are gone. On the other hand, if I can get to the point of running without asphyxiation, I might be able to shed a few pounds. Expecting it to happen is foolish, but it might be a side effect.
At least my legs are starting to show that they can take it. My shin splints are only troubling me as I am running, and that speaks volumes. I have to be conscious of every step I take as I walk, jog, or run the entire time I am awake, and make sure I'm not walking on the outsides of my feet. Why I got in that habit, I don't know.
But don't forget the t-shirt. Races usually give you a t-shirt for pre-registering. Not that it's a t-shirt appropriate for running in, or for wearing to work, or even attractive enough to wear in public, but at least I won't have to go topless for a day and I can probably wear it a couple of times before it is covered in little fuzzballs from the cheap fabric. Yayyy...
I'm running out of places to put my t-shirts. I buy them at work, to support this or that charitable cause. I get them for free, for donating blood. I will likely get more for running a few races. I buy them as souvenirs of the places I've traveled to. Once every few years I get to go to a concert and buy the band's current tour T-shirt.
Maybe I'm just passionate about collecting cheap t-shirts. That must be it.