Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running: hubris and humility

Almost every morning I see one or two runners on the road as I make my way to the train. There is one person I often see running with traffic, all dressed in black. This man seems to shuffle along more than run but that's what works for him. I always wonder when I pass him by whether he thinks "Look at me, I'm out here doing my daily workout, I am better than you." Why wouldn't he think that? If he could read my mind he may have been surprised to know that I'd done my running two hours prior (2.5 miles today) and that I think he's a fool for wearing dark colors and running with his back to oncoming cars. I can't speak for long time experienced runners like my friends CK and CMc who are all zen-like in their running attitude, but for a second year serious runner I am first to admit to succumbing to the hubris of running.

Runners can be competitive and judgemental. We may be good sports but we are quick to compare ourselves to others.
"You walk? Well I run."

"You run? "How far, how often?"
I'll admit to thinking this way more than once. Of course, as in physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Not long ago I met with someone in my office who noticed the race numbers plastered on my wall and asked if I ran. When I told him I did he said he ran too, mostly for fun. I asked him if he raced and he said he did an occasional Corporate Challenge. I later looked him up and saw that he'd recently ran a 3.5 mile Challenge at 6:56/mile. Consider me humbled.


  1. I appreciate you're honesty... I try not to think that way but sometimes when I'm out on a run I can't help but judge the people driving by me (especially when I'm tired, pushing the pace, and grumpy)...

    On the other hand, running can also be one of the most humbling sports... Pretty much whoever you are, there's always going to be somebody faster than you. That's why it's ultimately a competition against yourself (although the occastional hardware never hurts).

  2. True, self competition is the real challenge. I don't mind when a more proficient runner beats me. It's when I can't match my own usual pace that I get upset.


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