Monday, April 16, 2012

Memorial Service Small Talk About Ultrarunning

The bride and I were out to  western PA over the weekend to attend a memorial service for a cousin who had passed away.  As expected, the service was sad but it was great to again see family members whom we just never otherwise see.

Several of my cousins know that I run ultras and asked me about it when we were chatting.  The following conversation happened at least twice.

“Still running?”

“Yes.  I’ve cut back some but still try to run 3 or 4 times a week.”

“Honey, Gary can run 100 miles!”

“Well, there is some walking involved, like on uphills or when the trail is too rough.  Probably I run about 80 miles and walk 20 or so.”

“I don’t know how anybody can do that!”

“Well, first off, I enjoy it,  Being out in the woods that long is just fun for me, and the time actually passes pretty quickly.  And the human body evolved to be a trotting predator, like wolves.  It may sound weird but it’s kinda natural.  Plus I like it. I finally found a sport that I love and that’s good for me. Like I know you swim--if I couldn't run and had to swim for fitness I'd probably hate it.  So with trail running I feel really lucky.”

And so on.  We’ve all had these conversations and I’m never quite sure how to handle it.  So I just tell the truth so I’ll never have to try to remember a lie (Mark Twain said something like that).


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