I’m writing this guest blog for reasons that some of you may already know, and for the others it will become clear. Something Kristi will completely agree with is that I’m not the most sociable of people. I can be, but, it might not be too far from the truth to say that my second choice of lifestyle (in comparison to my current, and by far, first choice) would be to live in a cave in the woods and ride into town once a month (on my ATV – I’m not a Luddite) to get supplies and then disappear again. SO, perhaps I’m not the most objective person on this topic but I will propose the argument that running should not be a social sport. Sure you can meet a few people before or after a run or race, have a beer or two (and let’s not forget the great brownies at the end of each Mad Trapper event), but during the actual run you should be focussing on what you are doing. Running should not be a social event!
Here are a few examples of why running should not be a social occasion:
If you go out for a training run with others, someone will get hurt, either emotionally or training wise. Someone in the group will need to either hold the group up or run too fast for their own training plan. Someone else will need to slow down and lose out on all the planned training benefit. Either way, you are messing up your own training plan or another person’s plan. Second example: Assuming you are training to race, races are not sociable events and, besides, they always say “train as you race”. You are not going to spend a bunch of time during the race chatting away with other runners (unless you are our younger son – Luke). If you can chat away then you are not running hard enough anyway. Consider how you make someone feel if you run with them for a bit, talking about whatever you talk about, and then they pull away and beat you across the line. I have lots of practical experience racing with Luke and the only time he stops talking is the last 100m when he suddenly sprints ahead and beats me. If you’re the person pulling away, think about how cruel that is to the poor person who just spent 10 minutes telling you about their bunion problems. The last example of why running should not be a social event (a practical example) I’ll get to shortly.
A short detour then it will all come together. Bravery! I have told my boys many times that being brave is not the same as ‘not being afraid’. In my time (especially considering what I did for a large portion of my career), I have had many opportunities to be afraid, and, generally I was also able to be brave. On the other hand, I have often told the boys about that grey area between bravery and foolishness. This line I’m sure I have crossed on way too many occasions. Why do I bring up bravery? One of the many reasons I was attracted to Kristi when we met and became “Horse Friends” was that she bravely stretched her riding experiences well out of her comfort zone, often with me being at least partly the perpetrator of whatever the new challenge was. I’m not sure I have ever told her this so don’t say anything to her (keep in mind that we were only friends through this period as she was foolishly dating someone else – but that’s another story). I’ve always considered her far braver than she gave herself credit. I would certainly say that is changing now (the credit part, not getting less brave). You just need to read her recent post about being in her 40’s Life in my Forties.
Now to bring these two threads together. Kristi is slowly going over to the dark side of running; trails, off-trail races, snowshoeing, orienteering etc (and Rod, I meant what I said a while back that if she starts talking about Ultras, I’m coming after you). Yesterday, she called me at my office and started with the question “did you get my text and picture I sent?” I had not and the disappointment in her voice was clear. She then went on to casually add “Oh, by the way, I’m in the hospital with a dislocated finger, broken hand, glued up chin and the odd scrape or two – the picture is great”. What happened you ask? While trail running with some friends (who I thank very much for taking care of her and getting her to the hospital) she turned around to talk and tripped over something. What did I say earlier on? “Running should not be a social event”. What about the ‘Bravery’ aspect? Kristi is planning to still do the MEC trail race she and the boys are signed up for tomorrow (I’m resting a knee currently). Her main concern is that she wanted to do the 15km one, but ended up registered for the 6km only. Her other concerns all revolve around things like “can I still do my water running with a cast on” or “if I only do 6km on Sunday, can you wait while I do an extra 4 km just to keep my mileage up”. Actually now that I write this part (and having a lot of experience spending a disproportionate number of months in my life in various casts), perhaps the message here fits more into the ‘grey area between bravery and foolishness’ than ‘bravery vs being afraid’! Whichever – I love you!
Couple of photos – sorry about the ohhhh ughhh factor.