I suppose this post will contain a fair bit of my history – though not directly. It is my attempt at explaining part of why I run and part of where I am going with it – why I continue to assault my body with countless footfalls on rubber track, rocky trails, icy roads, boggy marshes, rotting squirrels or whatever else lies in my path.
I am fairly well convinced I started running in high school to get away from soccer. My high school brain told me I was not getting playing time and taking a back seat on the team not because I did not have the talent, but because of the politics involved. In cross country, there are no politics, no room for subjectivity and favorites; the time you post says it all.
Coming back to running after spending most of my money on fast food, booze, and cigarettes (that stuff is expensive in NYC), one of the things I loved about running was the low cost. I could find a pair of running shoes at Marshalls for less than $25, and a 10 lap stop watch from Wal-mart for near $10. I already had lots of old athletic shorts, and any cotton tee would suffice for a shirt. (If I knew then what I know now about shoes, I would have shelled out a bit more cash and gone with the SKORAs I have now, but that is for another time.) The point is, I could get out and do my thing for cheap.
In time I learned about all the gimmicky crap – the head phones, the garmins, the heart rate monitors, and do not forget all the sweat-wicking, technologically savvy clothes available to keep you dry. When I registered for my first post-hiatus race, I was appalled to find out how much it cost, and even more appalled when on race day, I picked up my schwag-bag and found it loaded with garbage. Running is supposed to be simple, easy, a break from the hubbub of life. And here we were loading it up with the crap that infects the mainstream.
Running should be something simple. It is basic in its premise: run from point A to point B, maybe back again. Sometimes we race and we try to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. It is the basic make-up of essentially any other sport – aside from maybe golf, fishing and bowling… Running was created simple, and should be kept simple. Free of distractions. Running should allow us to learn our environment, to learn ourselves and delve into the corners of our being we typically ignore. Running should be free.