Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fun is where it's at

You know those people who are somehow always in a good mood? And you just cannot fathom them ever getting angry or upset about anything? No, I am not one of those people. I have moods and they definitely I find these consistently high-spirited people incredibly inspiring.

There is this runner I know, let's call him J.  He trains with the LA Roadrunners, the club that I am a pace leader for (between September and March, training for the LA Marathon). Granted, I'm 7 pace groups behind his, because, well, this guy is fast. And not only does he make speedy running look easy, I have never seen him without a smile on his face...running or otherwise.

Runner specimen: not having fun
His 6-7 minute miles resemble effortless floating/flying that screams fun and enjoyment and makes me think hey, I want to look like that when I have been holding that pace...for 20 miles! (Not the sweaty definitely-not-smiling mess I can become) It's fascinating and enviable. That's the stuff you can't teach and can't really learn. You, I guess.

Don't get me wrong, I obviously love to run and genuinely have fun doing it. But I am clearly missing something because I don't smile like that all the time.

When race day came in March, I expected J to knock out a sub-3hour marathon, which he was more than capable of. Or even a 2:45 finish, especially if he made a true effort. But that may have resulted in an occasional frown.

Me & my pace balloon. I'm not smiling,
but my yelling is making someone smile.
It was motivational, I swear! 
Since I paced a 4:35 marathon (also the most fun I've had during a marathon thanks to an awesome group of people), I figured this guy would be napping at home by the time I crossed the finish. Or maybe still running, but smiling somewhere 20 miles away. Either way, what I did not expect is a 7hr28min finish time.

So what happened? At 20k, he was on track for that sub-3 marathon. At 21 miles, he stopped and rested for a few hours, then did the rest. No male ego getting in the way, no time target worth fussing about and potentially risking injury for.

He says he had a great time and that running 26.2 miles is fun. I clearly agree, or else I would not be running my 11th marathon in 2 weeks.

The question it fun in retrospect or are you truly enjoying yourself while you're actually doing it?

What J seems to be doing is running for the sheer joy of running, not for a pace, time, bragging rights or competition. It's a step above it all, where you value your enjoyment more than all those other things (or Virtual Buddies) that can come to define your running experience.

Life is short...and I'm not sure if they have Garmins in heaven?

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