In the movie Big Lebowski philosopher, woodsman, and all around hardcore dude Sam Elliot tells the Dude, "Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you." Of course in the movie this sounds more like "bar" which would also make a lot of sense because I've certainly encountered and been drunk under several of these man-eating bars - and trust me, one day the streets will run red with their blood.
But this example serves to prove my long held notion that cowboys were the warrior poets of the Wild West - drinking whiskey, chasing banditos, dispensing well timed advice - occasionally mouth kissing one another. But despite their tendency towards homoeroticism, cowboys are like hundredteen times more philosophically adept than equally awesome archetypal characters like ninja warriors, old Indian chiefs, and the real big Viking with the super sweet horn hat on. This is one of those undebateable facts of life.
Cowboys, however, aren't really the point here. The point is that sometimes life is a peachy bowl of happy happiness, and other times you lock your keys in the car while it's running and it's raining outside, and your cell phone is dead, and you're in rural Georgia and you start hearing banjos. This can occasionally be the kind of moment that leads to this kind of reaction. Or something slightly less dramatic depending on how you roll.
So on a particularly shitastic day this week I decided to drop everything and split for a mid-day run. I mean the dude in the video had already stolen my thunder so I didn't have a choice. In a very sadomasochistic way figured I’d find clarity through pain. Kind of like a Native American vision quest without the peyote or sleep depervation.
I ran up 8th Ave and turned east through the lower section of the park, charging Cat Hill, flying past the Rez, passing the skating rink on the north side of the park at a break-neck pace – and coming up on Harlem Hill it dawns on me... I'm completely spent. Like in that totally done kind of spent way where I just wanted a sandwich and a nap. I had my Metro Card so I could have turned off and grabbed the A train at any point, but that’s just not the runner’s mentality. For me the whole reason I run is to find myself at those junctures and getting the satisfaction that I pushed through it. So I spent the next four miles playing the, “If I make it to that tree I’ll stop. If I get to that bush I’ll stop, if I…” game.
I obviously didn't stop - uh, obvi - who blogs about that time they were a quiter? But by the time I rolled back to my apt 40 something minutes and 8 miles later it all kind of clicked.
In life and running you hit the points where it’s easy to grab the A train. Turn off. Stop. But success at both is all about being able to grin and bare it through the tough parts and recognize that without the bitter the sweet’s not as sweet.
Typically all I get from running is increased cardiovascular fitness and well toned legs, so to find enlightenment too was a nice bonus. And all without having to maim anyone with a computer monitor.