I’ve been trying to run, recently. I say “trying” because I don’t really consider myself a runner yet. I’m trying to run a measured, timed 5K, the whole way. Hopefully in less than 30 minutes. I’m getting closer, but I’m not quite there yet . . . .
At one point, it was totally unbelievable to me that I could run 5K, I could barely run 100 yards. I’ve been slowly getting better, and I can see it coming together soon. At least the running 5K straight. I think the time less than 30 minutes might remain elusive for a bit longer.
Standing around in a big group of “runners”—including a lot of people who appear to be in much worse shape than me, but will run any distance much faster than I will—I feel very awkward and out of place and a bit lonely. Kind of like the time when I was working at the Department Store after college for the summer, and one week they asked me to work at one of the makeup counters. I don’t wear makeup and never have, mostly because of skin reactions and later because I was used to the natural look. A job is a job, but I felt like the weirdest little mouse that whole week surrounded by women with a full facial every day. I guess I feel in the same way that I don’t really have a place as a runner, that I’m fighting to exist in the Running World. I can buy the shorts and the shoes and read the websites and go out and practice, but I don’t really belong.
This is a minor instance of fighting to exist, and probably not the worst battle I’ve ever fought myself. Every day people and animals and cultures and plants fight to exist and maintain a foothold in our World. It’s amazing to me sometimes, how in our very privileged over-resourced World, how many people have to fight for existence and how common that is. I think a lot of people don’t understand that. They don’t understand how it effects how people think, the decisions they make, how they judge certain situations, how they choose to proceed.
I’m sure I’ll win my own battle to exist as a runner, meet my own personal definition of having broken into that group earned “runner” status. Not everyone—or everything—winds up that way. I guess it is inevitable in some way. That doesn’t mean it isn’t tragic or damaging or that it is right, it simply means that the battle is fought, and is lost and won every day in ways big and small. Whether we really understand the consequences sometimes and how we tip the balance one way or the other, or how one battle lost or won can affect another battle on a different day.
To a kinder, gentler, better place and life. May we all find a satisfying existence.