Admin note: today’s post is a brief one, as I’m juggling some other writing commitments this week. Part of it is kind of exciting, which I’ll explain in more detail later. For today, let’s get right to it …
“I have no belief –
But I believe I’m a walking contradiction –
And I ain’t got no right … “
- Green Day, “Walking Contradiction” (click to play – explicit lyrics)
It’s hard to tell by looking at me – but I’m pretty much a walking contradiction when it comes to my athletic pursuits.
For somebody who usually writes two posts per week on subjects related (however tangentially) to triathlon and ultrarunning, I clam up like a frightened turtle when it comes to actually talking about those topics.
Here’s a case in point: last week, I stopped into our local running store to stock up on some Sport Beans and Nuun caps, which have become staples of my longest training runs. The clerk was a cute, friendly twenty-something year-old girl in cotton tights and a 5K t-shirt. We made a bit of small talk, and as she was running my credit card through the machine, she initiated the following exchange:
Her: So do you have any upcoming races that you’re training for?
Me: Um … I’m just, uh … doing a few trail races this year.
Her: Oh, cool – that sounds like fun.
Me: (long, awkward pause) Um … yeah. Is that ready for me to sign?
And then I took care of my receipt and said goodbye. I’m not exactly Mr Smooth with the ladies nowadays.
I know it seems crazy, but in everyday conversation, I never voluntarily bring up the races I’m doing – and the bigger the event is, the less inclined I am to discuss it at all. I probably skated around the girl’s question for one of the following reasons:
1. I’m very much an introvert, and making small talk of any kind frequently terrifies me.
2. I know a truthful reply will lead to a barrage of follow-up questions that I’m not really eager to answer (see reason #1).
3. I’m afraid of getting the “Oh my God, you’re crazy” reaction from someone who doesn’t know the whole backstory of how I’ve gradually built upon progressive goals to get where I am.
4. I’m not always proud of my athletic exploits, in that I recognize their inherently selfish nature, and understand that the commitment is a hazardous sea to navigate.
Or, on second thought, maybe it’s just that …
5. I’m a borderline sociopath.
I could make a strong argument for any of those choices. The funny part is, each item on the list above would seem to preclude somebody from having a blog – yet here I sit, plunking away my life story for anyone who happens to stop by with the click of a mouse.
Furthermore, in this space, no subject is too trivial, and no conversation too tangential. It’s like my own little Batcave, where the same guy who can’t be bothered to answer questions about upcoming races in person transforms into some kind of caped crusader of trail running (or triathlon, as the case may be). I’m more than happy to talk about my workouts or races or goals, and eager to hear feedback from anyone who’d like to offer it.
And rest assured, you’re going to hear a lot more about Western States in the near future – because that’s one of the side projects I’m working on. With any luck, the posts will come across as something more substantial than the ramblings of a crazy person.
But for obvious reasons, that’s not something I’m prepared to guarantee.