Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 78 of 365: Unnatural

There are few things that annoy me quite like when people say things like, "People aren't meant to run marathons."

Yeah, you're right. People aren't meant to run marathons. They're meant to run a fuckload more.

Our ancestors once hunted down animals by running them into exhaustion. This could last days -- days -- spanning miles upon miles upon miles. Some point to the fact that the messenger in Marathon, Greece, died after declaring their victory, as why marathon running is unnatural. Or at least that's how the legend goes. I say, the messenger most likely suffered from dehydration or heat exhaustion. In a world of Gatorade and breathable running clothes, this is less than an issue now.

I hate it because it gives people the type of false out. Say you don't have the time. Say you have horrific joints. Say you have a medical condition that renders it impossible to do more than the most basic physical activities. Say you just don't care about running. Go right ahead. It's honest, it's (varying levels of) viable. Marathon training takes a lot of time and work and care and mental effort. It's not easy. Saying that it's not worth risking injury to someone is a perfectly okay and honest out.

But to say that it's unnatural is not only false, but it makes it sound like people who marathon train are somehow in the wrong. Like marathon trainers are on par with mad scientists, trying to do what can't and shouldn't be done.

It's just a huge pet peeve of mine when people try to pass off anyone's hard work -- runner or otherwise -- in such a dismissive way. Trying to pretend like any achievement is an aberration. And it's easier to act like making the grade or starting a company or finishing a book is abnormal than it is to admit that anything of worth takes hard work. Hard work and sacrifice and a touch of risk.

Not to mention we certainly love all our actually "unnatural" phenomena, like cars and AC and modern medicine.

If it's not noticeable, I have a thing against people who are so stupidly pro-mediocrity that they have no qualms about sitting back and making excuses and even deriding others for actually getting shit done. Mocking intelligent people won't make you smarter. Dismissing artists won't make you more creative. And criticizing runners won't get you in better shape. Go out and do shit.

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