Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Distance Running: Passion or Obsession?????

Vent time.........  I've just completed my second 48hr ultra marathon in 2 months, and am sick of the bombardment of negatively directed queries.  Especially along the context that I must have some sort of addiction to running......  (I'll point out firstly that none of this has come from close friends or family as those close to me, know me and my motives)

When it comes to your career, there's the common phrase "when you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life".  I believe this wholeheartedly.  I think that's also true when it comes to your fitness or lifestyle choices.  Too many times I see or hear of people who perceive their 'duty' to fitness or healthy life choices as a chore, or something they 'have to do'.......  WHY?  Why is it such a drag?  Maybe you're not doing it right.  Maybe you're not doing it for the right reason.  Or, maybe you've not found something you truly enjoy doing that ticks all the boxes for keeping your fitness in check.  But that's a whole other story....

Why is it always the un-informed always offer the most 'informed opinions'?
I know this is where I sit in terms of distance running.  If you're a long distance runner, I'm sure you've had all the same questions or concerns thrown at you that I have:
  • didn't you run yesterday?
  • isn't that bad for your knees?
  • how do you run so much?  I get tired/bored after 10 minutes
  • you ran a marathon? did you win?
The fact is, running is more closely aligned to our evolutionary development than most other common human activities in the 21st century so I find the naïve questioning almost insulting.  I know its generally not meant that way so it's easy enough to let it go.  By large proportions, I'd be comfortable to bet that more people watch television for one hour per day than people exercise for 1 hour per day.  Yet anyone who routinely exercises for 1 hour, every day without fail will be accused as being obsessive, addicted or somewhat controlled by their 'need' to do so.  However, how many people who sit in front of the idiot box for 1 hour a day are struck with the same arrow?  Few at best.

Am I obsessed?
It wasn't until recently when I was reviewing some of my Garmin data that I realised just how many long distance runs I've racked up in the last couple of years.  Why?  Because non were a chore.  I bet if I tried I could count how many times I've done weeding though..... lol

I started running around April 2012, with no particular intent or structure, just the fact that I wanted to maintain weight.  After a couple of months of settling into things, I soon came to realise how much I loved pushing the limits on distance, and moreso along the trails.  I remember back in the early days doing a fair bit of reading about all things running, such as how to train for your first half marathon, and how long should you allow to recover? etc.  I'm glad I decided to throw all this info in the bin and just go by my own studies in personal training and human movement.  + use 'fun' as my true guide to what I want to do and how I'm going to do it.

In quick summary, this has lead to the following runs since August 2012: (2 years, 2 months)
  • 16 @ 45km to 179km
  • 6 @ marathon distance
  • 28 @ half marathon to marathon distance
  • 376 activities in total @ an average of 12.35km per run
I genuinely had no idea that there were so many, however regret none of them.  Were any of these worthy of any accolades?  No, not by a long shot.  But, I've enjoyed every mile and have followed my passion for the reasons I choose.  Would some say it's too much for such a short period of time? Yep, many will, and many do.  Do it care?  F*%k no!

Some will no doubt see this as an 'obsession'.  I see it as doing something I love, guided solely by what makes me tick.  Furthermore, at no point do I let my choices in this area interfere with or create sacrifice in other important factors in my life; such as family, career, social life etc.  It is my belief that an action or activity crosses from 'passion' to 'obsession' when other facets of ones life are negatively distorted as a direct result.  ie, should your partner and kids feel neglected due to your repeated choices, and you know this, then continue down the same path anyway; maybe you need to consider what's most important.

I make no reservations to say that I love pushing the boundaries and get a real kick out of it.  But at no point, should it come at a cost.  At least not to other important facets of what makes up your existence.  It's about balance and understanding..........

So be obsessively passionate people.............

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