Monday, January 28, 2013

Selfish Runner Syndrome (SRS)

Considering a marathon requires a lot of running in preparation for the feat, it's unfortunate to realize that running makes me a real a$$. Yesterday was the big 13 miler and I technically accomplished the goals I had set out for myself. I didn't dump or puke, pass out mid-run or yell at any strangers and finished it at an 8:22 pace, which was better than what I'd expected. I did, unfortunately, yell at my husband. I bitched at my supportive, funny and kind husband. To make a long embarrassing story mercifully short, he came up to meet me for the middle section of my run and I lashed out at him...on the run and then again at the house when I got home. Why you may ask? Good question.

I had gotten irritated that Graham hadn't shortened his own run so that he would be fresh and ready to push my pace. I had gotten majorly pissy over the fact that he hadn't re-routed mid-run, cutting his own workout short, so he could meet up with me and run the remainder of the trail as I was finishing. I justified as I ran, asserting that he should have done all of these things to help me, because I was the one running a marathon. I failed to hear all the me's or notice the fact that my worldview had unfortunately slid out of perspective...and suddenly revolved completely around me.

Oh gosh, it really is real isn't it?

After the run, the aforementioned second hissy fit at home and a pretty quiet lunch, all the me's were finally starting to sink in and it had become painfully evident, even to me, who was at fault. Graham then gave me a candid, un-sugar coated, kick in the ass, dose of reality that only someone who truly loves you will care enough to do. He cited a skewed perspective and unfortunately I knew it was more than that. I realize that individual sports as opposed to team sports naturally have a more singular focus as you are the only participant. I recognize that you and you alone are accountable and responsible for your results...and you sure as hell want them to be good, so you work hard and sacrifice a lot. But with all that realized, it doesn't give you license to start thinking that the world revolves around you and your training. Unfortunately I had and bottom line, my training was becoming all-consuming and making me fairly selfish.

Does anyone else suffer from selfish runner syndrome (SRS)? More importantly, how do serious runners keep a balance with real life? I'm not even a serious runner - simply a runner who's trying for something that serious runners do - and I'm having trouble maintaining perspective. Running demands self-discipline, introspection and helps you achieve your personal goals while smashing internal barriers. But does the constant focus on one's own running give the sport the potential to breed SRS at an alarming rate? I fear it just might. Fortunately, Graham was very forgiving, though he has asserted that he will no longer be joining my long runs. I'll use this blog as my public proclamation that though I currently suffer from SRS, I will make a concentrated effort to change. I will try to remember that the world does not revolve around my marathon training and that my life shouldn't either. I will endeavor to get less uptight about my training and less furious if my results aren't precisely what I intended. I started this whole thing wanting to have fun with it; I will strive to remember that...concurrently making Graham's life little less taxing.

Maybe if I keep up my mantra, I'll reward 
myself with these! Wait, what???

Thus, my new goals for runs are these: 
1. Don't dump or puke in public
2. Don't pass out mid-run - stay conscious!
3. Don't get angry and yell at anyone (strangers, friends and spouses alike) 
4. Have fun! 

Feel free to remind me of that on heartbreak hill :)

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