Sunday, April 21, 2013

Endurance to Overcome

I am not a runner.  I never have been.  I don't expect I ever will be.  To me, running is a form of torture.  It it endless, pounding torment and an inability to breathe.

Mr. Lime is a runner.  He has been a runner since he was a teenager.  He has run more races than I can count, two of them have been marathons.   For him, running is sanity.  It is how he clears his head after a long day at work.  It is where he finds peace.

I freely admit I was not in the least bit happy when he decided to run his first marathon because I was an at-home mom with three young children and Mr. Lime was already very busy with work and volunteer activities.  The training regimen to prepare for a marathon was, to my way of thinking, just more time away from home for him when I was already feeling rather desperate for a break.

I also admit I did not have an inkling what running meant to my husband until the day came when he could not do so.  Then I understood clearly that this activity was what made him fit to live with.  I am happy to say he was able to recover from that which prevented his running and get back on the road. It keeps him healthy both physically and mentally.

Over the years he has coached a number of different sports and Isaac has played several as well.  It has been interesting to note the personality tendencies among different sports or among positions within a given sport.  Perhaps to those who have always been athletically inclined this is all quite obvious, but for me, the non-athlete, the one who avoided organized and competitive sports it has been a revelation.

I've grown to understand that runners are a different breed, marathoners especially so.  Over the years so many of the races Mr. Lime has entered have been connected to the benefit of a charity in order to raise money for research and awareness within the community.  I don't have any actual figures but I can't think of any other competitive sport that would so consistently have such events in such great proliferation.  Charity games may occasionally be organized within other sports but so often they are mere exhibitions if they occur at all.  And believe me, I'm all for that, make no mistake.  It's just that if you're looking to see real competition don't expect it in a charity baseball game because the players aren't going to want to risk being injured for their real games.

Another difference is the more egalitarian aspect of races.  You'll find elite world-class athletes who have teams of professionals coaching them running in the same race as guys like Mr. Lime who train themselves, as well as people who run under adverse conditions such as various "disabilities"  (I use the term loosely because if you manage to complete 26.2 miles you're doing better than many able-bodied folks).  Of course, Mr. Lime and the others aren't going to give the elites a run for their money but they will run the same course at the same time and cross the same finish line.

There is also the respect between runners.  The fiercest competitors may actually be training partners and though they give it their all there is often a genuine happiness for whoever has won because they understand what was required to get through a long distance race.  Although it is a solitary activity and competition there is a community that emerges from enduring the endless road hours in preparation through all sorts of awful weather, through injury and illness, through your own mental roadblocks, and sometimes through the disapproval of the people around you.

I don't know any of this from personal experience because I'd rather crawl over broken glass than run.  I know it from observing my husband and others like him.  And so, from observing both his character and the character of other runners I've known, I was deeply touched, but not at all surprised, to see during the London Marathon this weekend a massive crowd stood in silence before the race to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing and that so many of the runners held their hand over their heart as they crossed the finish line to honor the same victims.  May those victims find similar endurance to overcome the obstacles in their paths.





23 comments:

Bijoux said...

I was never a runner either, but I have noticed that there is a bond that runners have that I've never noticed in other sports. I'm wondering if its the lifelong aspect of it, that most other sports don't have?

Tabor said...

Marathon runners are all abut endurance and sticking to the goal in spite of pain and boredom. How appropriate that all marathoners answer terror in this way. I never want to run but I do work on the elliptical. I have to watch TV because I find it horribly boring.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I have several friends who have run marathons, but I don't get it myself. Give me a nice 5K! Then again, I only started running at all last year, so I don't have that life-long attachment to it. And I'm glad - so may runner end up with trashed knees!

Sailor said...

I think your tag sums it up best, in the case of many runners I know (I'm not a runner, thankfully I blew a knee apart years ago and got to quit that).


Anyway, you tagged "class acts"... and I think that's a great thing.

Stephen Hayes said...

Thanks for an interesting perspective on living with a runner. I'm shaped like Robbie the Robot and not designed for speed, but your post has given me an inkling into this world.

Daryl said...

... i hate running, i wont even run to make the light (a new yorkism for getting across the street before the light turns red) i hate running more than yoga but i think runner are amazing athletes ... marathoners are the elite of the runners in my opinion ... thank you for this beautifully written post honoring all runners

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Each of us has his own way of reaching his core...
...at least if he's well balanced.

Beach Bum said...

I despised running all through years in the army. In a group it was not so bad but alone I could never keep a constant pace. I was either sprinting or walking.

It was not until I joined a gym that I got hooked on using a treadmill. With the machine keeping pace I actually began to enjoy running.

Of course that only lasted as long as the gym membership. Changes in fees and the end of on-site child care made my wife and I drop it.

coopernicus said...

Runners always look so happy when they're running.

Suldog said...

The gregarious nature of most runners - despite the grueling thing they do - is one of the many factors that made the Boston bombings such a miserably horrific thing. The Boston, and other marathons, are, as you say, amazingly unlike most other sporting events. Peaceful competition, spectators cheering everyone (no booing is ever heard in a marathon), and so many runners raising money for charities. It multiplies a hundredfold the heinous nature of the crime.

Jocelyn said...

When running works, ain't nothing like it.

I'm really glad Mr. Lime uses it for mental and emotional release.

HOWEVER, training that leaves a spouse at home, handling more than she rightly can, well, that's a pet peeve of mine.

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Dave said...

Nicely written Michelle. A masterpiece in my mind - Dave

Hilary said...

Beautiful said and wrapped up so touchingly as only you can do.

Logophile said...

So true, I've got some runners in my world (one who was in Boston, she was not hurt) and they are an amazing group. Relay for Life is getting underway here and the runners are coming out of the woodwork to support the free clinic. Love em!

I love reading what you have to say, my friend.

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NYD said...

When I see runners I often think to myself: "Where the heck are they going?". It's my half-assed attempt at humor when I actually understand the need for solitary undertakings that push you mentally and physically. I just happen to think that doing it on my bike is a lot more fun.

TexWisGirl said...

wonderfully written. congrats on your POTW.

Daryl said...

back to say .. congrats on a POTW!

Phyllis E said...

Just did a 'virtual run' over from Hilary's site. Congrats on the POTW. Your post was well-said and the recognition well-deserved.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I am visiting you from Hilary's post and just wanted to say that you have a beautiful way of expressing yourself. I'm with you on the running thing - tried it and no can do! :)

Barbara Shallue said...

So beautifully written. I run, but not marathons, although my son does. I plan to send this to him. Thank you, and congrats on the much-deserved POTW!

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