Friday, January 6, 2012

Only We Understand

My Dad has never shown an interest in my races and I can't even remember him ever asking about a race. When I saw him at Christmas, however, he said, "I've been meaning to ask you, that race that you did, was it pretty tough?" He was talking about the New York City Marathon. Yes, it was pretty tough. "Was it worth it?" he asked. The thought had never entered my mind. "Of course," I said.

It was the second time in a week that non-runners had seemed to question my sanity. A group of co-workers at a local establishment got to talking about said-mentioned marathon and running in general. The consensus among them was that they hated running and they couldn't understand why anyone would want to do it.

I get the same thing from people when I tell them about triathlons. They don't understand why I would want to spend my free time training and racing. As the saying goes, "if I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand." Triathletes, runners, swimmers, cyclists, only we know what drives us. I guess that's why I find myself drawn to other triathletes. They get it.

I recently did the Jingle Bell Run with the CVRA running club. We dressed in costumes and did a non-race through the streets of Marion one evening. I had run less than a mile when I felt a sharp pain in the side of my knee. It was my IT band, the same injury that had nearly ended my NYC Marathon. Normally the pain comes on gradually and worsens the longer I run. This came on suddenly and was full tilt. I had to stop running and could barely walk.

I watched the rest of the runners head around a corner and out of sight. I wasn't sure where I was at. It was dark and a residential neighborhood. I just started walking, hoping I would find a familiar street. It was so dark that I came within a foot of running into a pole!

I did find my way back to Tomaso's in Marion and our post-run pizza. I hobbled back to my car that night and it was apparent that I could put off physical therapy no longer. I hoped I hadn't damaged something that would affect my season this year.

Non-runners might say "if it hurts to run than don't run." That's not an option. It would be like telling me not to breathe! I guess only people within our circle can truly understand. It's who we are. And yes, Dad, it's worth it.