Monday, January 23, 2012

That Time Of Year

Sadly, it is that time of year... when the snow and ice have affected the roads enough that i no longer trust sharing them with the cars, or their bad drivers, more accurately. Today i hung up my running shoes, replaced the batteries for the display in my indoor bike, and rode my first miles of the year. Sighhh....

As i begin what i hope will only be a month of indoor riding instead of outdoor running, i think of George Sheehan:

"Is there anyone out there who isn't concerned about self-worth? About an uncertain identity and low self-esteem? Is there anyone not on a constant search for autonomy, mastery and control? The runner is no different from others in these needs. The question then becomes how to satisfy those needs—and is running the way to do it? Or is it really a negative addiction that costs more than the benefits it confers?

"Some health-care specialists think so. The dogma goes something like this: Running is acceptable when done for health or to relieve anxiety. It is not acceptable when it is accompanied—as it is in many runners—by the intensity and exclusiveness usually reserved for religious fanaticism. At that point, appropriate preventive and therapeutic measures should be instituted. Runners must be saved from the maladaptive behavior that has taken over their lives.

"I don't dispute the description of the typical runner as a person intensely committed to his sport. But I also accept the findings of researchers at California State University at Fullerton. Runners, they found, were 'more intelligent, more dominant, more aggressive, more socially reticent, a but more suspicious, more shrewd, mire self-sufficient, and more unconventional than nonrunners.'

"It is not the details of our behavior that are in question, it is the judgement made from them. What some see as a problem I see as the solution. For me, running has narrowed the distance between what I am and what I can be, between the actual self and the ideal, between aspiration and reality."

Personal Best

Just in case you didn't read that whole excerpt, or skim read it, let me repeat the important part: Running narrows the distance between what I am and what I can be, between the actual self and the ideal, between aspiration and reality. As the title of his book points out, running leads you towards your personal best.

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