I am, along with my wonderful TR24 teammates, starting to get in full get-ready-to-race-for-24-hours mode. I’m making lists in my head. I had a dream that I forgot both my head lamp and my Garmin. I have spent considerably too much time thinking about whether to pack five or six pairs of socks – just in case some freak sock accident occurs. Besides the obviously-important sock conundrum I’m having, we – the team – have been (briefly) talking about why we’re actually going out there, and I think this quote is pretty well reflective of our motivation:
“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan
We’re going out there to have fun and to see what we can achieve, together and as individuals. We have a pretty modest target of 4 x 10km laps each, which I’m sure will shift and change over the course of the 24 hour time period.
But we’re not trying to win. I’m personally trying to win against our own innate sense of laziness – I really believe that we – humans, that is – are all innately lazy. Of course we are. It’s much easier for someone else to do something while we sit on the couch and do nothing. All this was put brilliantly by Matthew at The Oatmeal. If you haven’t read it (and particularly if you’re a runner who has not yet read it!) the full 6-part saga is here. There is seriously no point being a running blogger now, because everything that there is to say about running and why we run has now been said.
In this amazing saga, Matthew talks about The Blerch, which was something I absolutely identify with (I’m sure all runners do, to some degree…):
I’m not only a super-lazy person, but I also know that I have the ability to eat a HUGE amount of food in one sitting when I’m not paying attention (read back though some of the more recent previous posts for some more clues about this…) As Matthew says – you can’t run away from the wall, but you can run away from The Blerch. The Blerch is the voice inside George Sheehan’s head that tells him to quit. It’s the voice that tells me that my legs are like so tired not 2km into a 20km run.
And, that’s what we’re going out to beat. Not anyone else. Not records. The Blerch. That’s what each race is about beating. That’s what each training session is about overcoming.
The world of running has changed, thanks to Matthew – because he’s given that thing a name, and (as we learned from Harry Potter) giving a thing a name makes it a little easier to beat.