The two people that live inside me

Sometimes I like to get all philosophical and deep about running.  How I use it as a metaphor for life, how I deal with it psychologically.  I've probably tried to write this post 50 times over the past couple years, but something clicked this morning after reading this post over The Laminator's blog and it all just came together.

As a runner, there are two people that live inside of me: the fat kid and the fast runner.

The fat kid is a hydra: a multi-headed beast that is some ancient relic of my childhood.  Every time I think I've defeated him he reemerges, stronger for the defeat.  I hate the fat kid for two exact reasons: 1) his omnipresence and 2) his power to belittle.  Even acknowledging him here feels awkward, almost shameful.  Like I don't have the right to recognize having been fat as a kid and teenager.  The memory hurts.  And the repercussions that I have seen unfold from an obese childhood reinforce the hurt.

The fat kid is the one who says at the start of a run: "this is all a bad idea, let's wait until tomorrow to do it."

The fast runner wakes me up at 525a, five minutes before the alarm for the gym is supposed to go off even on days that I'm not going running.  The fast runner wants to qualify for Boston, run a sub-1:30 Half-Marathon, run seven days a week, crank the treadmill up to 12.0 just to make people at the gym stare.  The fast runner is the one who gets off on passing slower runners.  The fast runner loves to be active and sweating and prove himself.

The fast runner is the one who says after a run: "I just did that and I think next time I can do it even better."

The fat kid, I know, I will never outrun.  He weighs me down.  He points out flaws in the mirror.  He is self-aware and insecure.  He wants nothing good for me.  He is content being a sloth and watching life from a non-participatory vantage.  My relationship with him is marked by shortcomings.

The fast runner, I know, I will never outrun.  He is always pacing a bit faster than I am.  He never slouches.  His confidence is unshakable.  He likes to buy things that make me look good.  He loves the spotlight and at the same time he is my biggest cheerleader and will never, ever, lose faith in my ability to conquer anything.

Every run these two people check each other.  One wants to take it easy.  The other wants to go balls out.  It is a careful negotiation between the two, who gives, who takes.

During races they become caricatures.  The fat kid gets desperate, screams for an end, wants to find the finish line, be coddled, just to make it all stop and be safe.  Conversely, the fast runner is in his element, sticks out his chest, soars in with an infallible confidence; all things are under his control.

I would ultimately, one day, like to swash the fat kid.  Eradicate him from existence.  But I know he is a part of me forever.  I can't just forget where I have progressed from.  You cannot realize all the great mountains you have climbed if you forget the valley you started in.  It is necessary to have the fat kid villain to victory over, just like it is necessary to have the fast runner to be the hero.  You need a hero to push you, to build goals toward.  Accomplishing those goals feeds ambitions and the creation of higher goals.  Knowing that, it would be impossible to fulfill everyone of my running, and life, desires.  But that said, I would still ultimately, one day, like to be the fast runner.


The Laminator said...

Wow, powerful post my friend, so well written too! I love it!

How you got the inspiration to write this from my whimsical mumblings about nothing in particular...I have no clue =)

sRod said...

I should have probably clarified that I it was specifically the video in that post :)

CyclingDivas said...

We all have at least two people inside don't we?

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