Monday, July 3, 2017

Confessions of a Recreational Marathoner: A Final Post

In a previous post, I'd mentioned wanting to write about what this whole experience finishing five marathons and running in memory of my dad meant to me, but that I was having trouble finding the words. Truth is, I still haven't figured out what to say even though I've spent most of May and all of June waiting for the words to appear. I didn't want to wait any more, so here we are.

I'd actually drafted something up weeks ago, about the relationship I had with my dad which was far from perfect, how in many ways we did not understand one another. And that post was (is) great. But after writing it, I realized that post was really just for me and no one else.

I thought about telling you that I never really loved running. It never came natural to me. I felt that I had to work at it harder than others because of this and - even then - I would still be a slower runner than most. But in thinking about my relationship with running, I realized that my running, while far from perfect, was an outlet.

But... an outlet for what?

A few weeks ago, I flew into Calgary for one! night! only! to see The Watchmen play. This is a band I fell in love with in my youth and this show was the first time I'd seen them live in more than 20 years. These guys are also originally from the Canadian prairies - Winnipeg, in fact - which makes them kindred spirits, in so many ways. And in revisiting my love of their music, one set of song lyrics jumped out at me: 
Touching down, it’s a frozen town.
Look around
I grew up, I fell down.
Nothing changes
Nothing changes except the red lights.
Any day now it will come.
It sounds like bullshit but,
You ever notice?
This whole town of ice and snow
Gets you running
To chasing something
But what it is I’ll never know
Just hope one day that it shows.
Any day now it will come.  
Any Day Now by The Watchmen. Album: Silent Radar (1998).

When I started long distance running, the original goal was to run a marathon for my 30th birthday. Wrapping up number five, I wanted to finish to honour the memory of my dad.  

What does it all mean? 

If I'm a pessimist, maybe it's that I've used actual running to metaphorically run away from things that were scary or bad: getting older, having to accept that my dad died. 

If I'm an optimist, maybe it means I used running to deal with difficult things in a way that was positive - physically, emotionally and mentally.

As each of those angles is trite and stupid, I hate them both.

How about this? Perhaps we're all chasing something. What that is and why? Maybe we'll never know. Maybe it means something, maybe it doesn't. Maybe... that's just life. 

What I know for sure is this: on balance, running and blogging about running has been an enjoyable and fulfilling way to pass my time these last few years. It got me through some bad times. It gave me a medium to support those living with diabetes. It also apparently (so I've been told) inspired a few others to start running journeys of their own. But I did what I set out to do so now it's time to wrap it up. 

I guess that means my "any day now" (when it comes to running, anyway) is now. It showed itself. And while I may not have been able to find the exact words to most appropriately articulate this, I can't think of a better reason to go out than that.

Five by 35 or bust: we out.

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