Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hard-Core, Soft-Core

In this blog I try to describe the feelings and experiences of a non-competitive runner. Sometimes it is a matter of talking about the pleasure of seeing deer run through the woods of Ashridge, at other times it might be the sense of peaceful emptiness that can sweep over you at the end of a run. At all times the focus is on the experience and process, not the objective results of speed, heart rate and miles. Soft-core running seems a pretty good description.

This does not mean that I am uninterested in training schedules and the discipline of serious athletes; quite the reverse I am fascinated. I have enormous admiration for their ambition, dedication and talent. But sometimes I read something that pulls me up short and shows clearly the difference between my attitude and theirs.

A couple of days ago Windsurfin’ Susie wrote this.

Now I will allow a certain amount of hyperbole in playing up the dilemma of choosing whether to help someone or continue to measure your heart rate. However it shows how you can become obsessed with the need to run and measure, the potential for injury and disruption to training schedules. I compared this to my canal run of a couple of weeks ago where I met someone from my yoga class. I stopped; we chatted for a bit and the run became a bit more enjoyable because of the interruption.

I find myself a bit uncomfortable with the idea that one should limit help to those who have not contributed in any way to their misfortune. When the problem is of your own making you suffer the double burden of being in a mess and feeling worse because you know it was your fault. I speak here as someone who can be pretty stupid.

I once ran out of petrol driving a hire car. The temperature gauge was in the same place on the dashboard as the fuel gauge in my own car. I glanced at it a few times, without really looking, my only thought was that the car had remarkable fuel economy because the dial had hardly moved. At that point it ground to a halt.

1 comment:

womble said...

I don't have a toaster. I use the grill. A friend of mine was staying over and decided that as he was used to using a toaster, he would set the timer for a couple of minutes (or whatever) for the toast without having a clue as to how long it would take! Of course, he set off the smoke alarm! It didn't occur to him to stay in the kitchen and keep check on progress :o)