Monday, April 11, 2011

Pre-vacation blues...

Seems like the house is in a rut before vacation.  A couple of my roommates are sick and I feel like I am fighting something off.  I napped today for like three hours, which is great, but now I am going to be an insomniac tonight.  When I woke up from my nap I decided I needed to go for a run to clear my head.  It was already dark and the big dipper was just above the mountains.  I decided to do some laps near the house because it is dangerous to be out after dark.  When I got away from what little light there is in the city, I looked at the mountain and it appeared to be glowing orange.  Half of the mountain was engulfed in flames.  Must be that slash and burn agricultural technique.  I passed a couple kids on my first lap who asked me why I was running.  It puzzled me a second and then I answered, "Why not?". They also reminded me how dangerous it was to be running at night.  I thanked them and was on my way.  They asked me if I was going to come around for another lap and I told them I would.  I felt like I was flying on the way back from my first lap and then I realized I was on a steep decline.  It felt good to carry that kind of pace again.  Sure enough, the kids were waiting for me when I returned for my next lap.  They ditched their soccer balls and bikes and ran about a hundred yards with me.  They must have asked someone what my name was because they knew it on the second lap.  I had a pretty good pace going and I was surprised that the kids held on as long as they did.  I told them to be ready because I would be back for one more lap.  I took my time on the next lap--a little slower, like a warm down lap.  The kids must have thought I wasn't coming because when they saw the light of my lamp they started cheering.  They ran with me until I reached my house and then there was a sort of Forest Gump moment when I stopped running and said goodnight.  They kind of looked at me like, "What now?"  After a couple seconds of awkward silence they decided to call it a night and walk home.  After a good run, I feel better already.

I have noticed a similarity in two subcultures of people--Travelers and Runners.  Both groups are extremely resilient.  I have run with people that the general population would think are insane.  They are like mailmen--rain or shine they get it done, and early--15 mile runs at 530 on a Sunday in 20 degree weather.  And they call that fun.
I have also traveled with some people on the border of insanity--15 hour chicken bus rides in 85 degree heat nursing a wicked hangover.  Very Anthony Bourdain like...
And they call that fun.

The thing that separates these subcultures from the mainstream population is that when they set their mind to do something they follow through regardless of the conditions.  They wear the bad situations like jewelry.  It is accomplishing something in order to go back and say, "parts of that journey sucked horribly and I may not do that ever again, but it was totally worth it."   The reason I got into running is because I read a book called, "Born to Run" about a group of ultra marathoners running a fifty mile race in Mexico.  Mixing traveling and running makes for a damn good book.  Read it.

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