Did anyone see the article in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “Who Quits Before Race Day?” In my humblest of opinions, it actually doesn’t say a whole lot. Basically, lots of people over-train for marathons, get injured and never make it to the start line – “Of the 60,000 runners who registered for the New York marathon several months ago, about 45,000 will show up for the start.”
Apparently, for some runners, fear of under-training actually leads to over-training. One more example of how we runners can be quite the bunch of overachievers. Several injured people were quoted in the article, most of them voicing disappointment at training for so many months and not being able to run the race.
I’ve been there. You’ve probably been there too. It sucks the big one. One more race shirt you can’t wear, one more day of the year when you wake up and cry in your Starbucks because you are supposed to be racing and are instead watching re-runs of America’s Funniest Home Videos (which is always on, by the way. No one ever gets tired of swift blow to the crotch) .
Just for the record, I’m sure it breaks some law in some country (Sri Lanka?) to wear a shirt for race you never ran. I give them to my kids.
What struck me the most about this article was not the content, but the comments that followed, like this one:
“I have zero sympathy for the "sense of loss". Life is full of *real* stuff to mourn: people losing jobs, spouses, children, and the actual ability to walk or run. Training and then not being able to run is a bummer but it falls into the category of not being able to indulge in that weekend away. Anything longer than a few days of self-pity indicates a serious lack of perspective. Learning to count your blessings in a far less than tragedy situation like this is how resilience is built for when life *really* slaps you upside the head.”
Are we runners really such a group of whiney, self indulgent thugs who have completely lost perspective?
Yes, I have been guilty of getting caught up in running and having a one-track mind. Yet, just because I love to run and grieve the loss of not being able to a race or train does not mean I don’t “get” that there are worse tragedies in life. Give me a break. At the end of the day I know that running is not everything. But, it does make me happy so I miss it when I can’t do it. Like anything, when you want it and can’t have it, it hurts.
PS: Stayed tuned later this week as I talk to would-be marathoner and gold medalist, Apolo Anton Ohno, who will be running New York on Sunday. I bet he is not whiney.