I’m trying to become more involved in the running community, as I really do have a tremendous desire to give back what I’ve taken through the years.
Running with others is quite possibly the hardest thing for me to do. I tried it for the first time last night, and the result was me experiencing the worst GI issues I’ve had in years. This was like a food poisoning sort of level.
Imagine, not being able to perform because of terrible, disgusting pains, and being around strangers that are clearly not believing you when you say the line, “I swear, this never happens.”
(I’m sure some of you have said this in… various instances.)
I’ve run over 1800 miles this year and besides a few straggler races and two half marathons I did for funsies with my best friend, all of those miles I have run alone.
I cherish running alone. I feel no greater passion than when I’m running alone, and at no time do I enjoy my thoughts more.
I’m the typical embodiment of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. I transcend space, time, and class when I am running. I feel pleasure and happiness. And even though COVID has left me isolated a lot of the time, there is no time where I feel more energy, or experience more consciousness than when I’m running alone.
The problem with me is, I associate “other people” with “work.”
It isn’t that I hate other people, or that I lack the capability of enjoying them. It’s that by in large, I find them, their lives, their problems, and their conversations to be something I have to put active work into.
I don’t have an easy time with merging “active work” with the thing I gain the truest pleasure from. Merging my favorite thing to do with my least favorite thing, making small talk with people, I feel just ruins the activity for me completely.
You’d think that as a person who has worked in the service industry for so many years, I’d be overjoyed to make small talk with others, but it wears out its welcome.
Think of me as a plastic surgeon, and small talk is like seeing my 1000th set of tits.
If you tell me a story that I haven’t heard a thousand times before, I might fall in love with you on the spot. I’m burned out on dogs, kids, and baseball. Conversely, I’m also burned out on drugs, sex, and alcohol.
Over the last 12 years, my brain has come to associate “other people” with “work” and “being alone” as “precious time to enjoy.”
What is more frustrating is that I am totally and completely aware that this whole narrative is laden with excuses.
These are patterns that I have created. They have nothing to do with my job, but rather stem from 30 or so years of repetitive behavior.
Part of the process of changing your identity, which I have actively been working through over the last three years, is rewiring pieces of yourself bit by bit.
Sure, removing the addictive habits and getting healthy were large, noticeable shifts that I chunked out of the way relatively quickly, but then under that was a whole other current of related garbage that somehow, I’ve just let continue.
When you remove a shitty habit, all of the reasons for that shitty habit emerge. Then, all of the weird stories you’ve made up over the years surface. Hence, the story I tell myself that “people are a lot of work.”
Are people a lot of work, or did I just never tell myself enough times that there is value in their company?
Am I destined to be poor forever, or do I feel guilty for trying to be well off since my parents were not?
Am I really attracted to old men, or am I just trying to create surrogate parents in adulthood?
That kind of shit is the shit that you have to dig through.
Are people a lot of work? I “believe” they are.
Now, the question is, is telling myself that story holding me back from achieving greatness in ways I want to?
That’s the type of garbage you have to dig through when you start shifting in life.
You have to analyze and determine if you should push through another 30 workouts with other people you don’t really care to know in order to find if you actually hate doing it, or if you’ve just convinced yourself you do.
Most likely, I have just convinced myself I do. Thus, just like the terrible craving for a cigarette or the strong ache for a shot of whiskey, I will bear the discomfort and force myself to do this again next week.
Hopefully next time, I can do it with less pooping.