Monday, January 10, 2011

Reflection on Running and "SELFING"

from the free dictionary:

wan·na·be also wan·na·bee (wn-b, wôn-) Informal
n.
  • One who aspires to a role or position.
  • One who imitates the behavior, customs, or dress of an admired person or group.
  • A product designed to imitate the qualities or characteristics of something.
adj.
  • Wishing or aspiring to be; would-be.


I am a wannabe, someone who aspires to be a runner.  I imitate the training, eating, dress and customs of my admired group of people: runners (like Jill, Chris, Adam, Beth, EMZ, Johann, Kovas, Q, Neil - but with shoes on).  I am designing myself to imitate the qualities and characteristics of great runners.  I think "wannabe" is a perfect description of me and the way I have been operating.

I enter larger chip-timed races because those races draw the better runners.  I almost always end the race in the back of the pack.  Never for one moment do I believe I am of their caliber.  No.  But I want to be of their caliber.  I want to see them start (but I don't see them finish).

I follow some awesome blogs, and I see the times posted for a mile pace for training (6:22, 7:20, 7:45).  I just ran a full mile at the track after a warm-up in 10:19.  I thank you for your stating that I am a runner.  But I am personally challenged to be a better runner - a faster runner - a longer runner.

I have currently chosen to run an 8-miler in Waterloo on February 20th.  If the Macmillan Running Calculator is correct, and based on last years results, I will end up either the last male or the last person to finish the race at my current running speeds.  That seems super foolish doesn't it?  Why would a grown man do such silly things?  Well, it's because I'm a wannabe.

But please, I don't think being a wannabe at this stage in my abilities is an insult.  I am not discouraged. I am not negative.  I have not missed one training run since I started running.  I have skipped indulging in food that take me off my diet.  I barely know what alcohol is. I am being coached (my closest know what that means).  I do these insane drills (not because some coach will be angry if I miss them, but because I will have wasted an opportunity to convert my desire into achievement.)

I am a wannabe!

I want to run around the track and have flames sparking from under my feet.  I want to come from behind and rip past the struggling herd of finishers to take the win.  I want to reach deep down in my soul, and surprise myself by breaking through tremendous pain to pull incredible drive out of my legs, arms, chest, lungs and beating heart!  I want every emotion (fear, hate, love, forgiveness) to fight in me because I know that for a few moments I am alive fighting with myself.



When I went out running for the Virtual 5k on Saturday, I slipped (even with my spikes) about 4 times before I passed 10 homes on my street.  I had to make a decision on whether this was going to be a killer run, matching my most recent 5k, or a disaster.  I decided to laugh at my situation.  It rains (and snows) on the good and the bad.  No sense in taking it personally - there will be other days.  The only promise I made with myself was that I will be trained for the day that has my name on it.

Even though the weekend's post is kinda funny.  I was really pissed off that I couldn't run later when I knew the sun would be out and the roads would be plowed - but I had family plans that came first.

But I warn you Andrew Opala, there is enough time during each week, that I am going to get so trained up I am going to unleash a can of whoop-ass and kick the PRs of your whole family!  No need to wave when I pass you, cuz you'll be just yesterday's news - blowin in the wind.

It's like Dooding and Chicking but when you pass yourself in the last 100 m of the race it's called SELFING! :)  And it's what I'm after!

27 comments:

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

We are all wannabes in some regard. I trained with Ryan Barnett this Thursday. He is a wannabe top 10 finisher at Kona. Bree Wee (professional triathlete from Kona) is a wannabe top 10 finisher in the world. I am a wannabe beat Arnie (my training partner) in an IM.

It is all relative. Great frame of mind, keep it up.

Alan Dent said...

Running races with faster runners is a sure way of bringing your times down - Good luck with your goals

Teamarcia said...

Looks like I need to go read your RR!

The Green Girl said...

I agree, we're all wannabees to a certain extent.

Good luck with your selfing! I'm in 'self-preservation' mode right now and not even selfing!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

I believe in the USA "selfing" goes by a different name, but, as I am a gentleman, will go no further.

Ewa said...

Keep on selfing, Andrew. Every time you go for a run when you don't feel like it you are selfing. Every time you battle elements you are selfing. And that will make you run longer and faster. Good luck.

Karen R said...

I like your explanation of a "wannabe"! Keep up the good work!

misszippy said...

You're not a wannabe in my book! And you are actually in a great position--just starting out, when the sky is the limit. You'll have years of improvement ahead of you.

Julie said...

I like you :-)
AND I totally get what you are saying. It's not always easy being in the back of the pack, but we're still part of a pack. Someone has to pick up the rear with a smile on their face and I do a really good job of that!

Andrea said...

I don't care what your time is or if you came in last...it's better than the majority of folks who are "sitting on the couchers".

Keep on running!

Brian said...

Great post. It sounds like you are very dedicated. I probably would have passed on running altogether in that snowy weather. Keep up the consistent training and you'll be moving to the front of the pack before you know it.

Anne-Marie said...

Anyone who goes out and runs a 5k in 6 inches of snow and freezing temps is NOT a wannabe - at least in my book!

You have the discipline and drive to succeed - your speed will develop with time.

Barefoot Neil Z said...

I fake it. Then all of a sudden i am it. Its a curious thought process for me, but it works.

FruitFly said...

That is a Fabulous post! I guess I'm a wannabe, too!

Some day I REALLY want to see what those fast people look like when they cross the finish line. By the time I cross they are already cooled off, in warmer clothes and sipping on coffee. They finished their bagel ages before I came near the finish. I want to be one of them just once!

Suzanad said...

Wohooo!! What a great goal - selfing! :D

Good luck on the 8 miler!

Jennifer said...

I am an ultra wannabe, and a fastrunner wannabe, and many other things too. I think if you switch up the word a bit, say add an emphasis, say "WA-NAA'-bee", as a new pronunciation, it sounds cooler and more European.

Tricia said...

LOVE the fyto5k report!

Tortuga_Runner said...

Leave it to a wannabe to make up a cool word like selfing...watch out Jamoosh this wannabe is witty!

Kate said...

I love this. I've seen you all over other blogs but I've never made it to yours. I don't know how I've missed it. I'm with you...I may be competing, but I'm no competition. I've gotten so much inspiration from reading blogs of all these fantastic runners...not just the super fast ones, but also the ones who aren't fast and who've taught me that you don't have to come in first to be a kickass athlete. Somebody has to be last, and like somebody else said, last place is just the last one to cross the line...there are a lot more people who never had the nerve to start.

Chris K said...

No Andrew, you are a runner, not a wannabe. You are a new runner, that's all. You are so impatient Grasshopper. Look, you have the right attitude and a great Coach. It takes time. My first Marathon was 4:49 and it took me four years of running 5X per week to get it to 3:34.

I will never forget doing my long slow distance runs at 11:30 per mile, four years later it's 8:30 per mile.

Baby steps Grasshopper. Shoot for little goals. Top 90% of age group, then top 75%, then top 50%, etc.

Dude, you are a golfer. How long does it take to break 100. A long time, many never do. Then break 90. Hell, I bet only 20% of all golfers have ever broken 80. It took me 20 years to become single digit handicap. I'm done. No, wait, you are a runner.

Kim (Book Worm Runs) said...

Great post!! I am in awe when I read these blogs of the really fast runners but I like being slow and in the back of the pack :) It gives me more time to enjoy the running and the view is great from back there :) Keep up the great work!

gene @boutdrz said...

This post is AWESOME! Clever, witty, insightful, inspiring. Bravo!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

The funny thing is, if you have "the drive" - the desire to be better never leaves. You hit one goal, quickly enjoy it, and set another. It's a great highway to be on. Enjoy the journey! You are a runner because you get out and run. Looking at the the weather conditions, it looks like you are a SERIOUS, DEDICATED runner. Celebrate where you are, and go for the next baby step. That's the road we're ALL on.

Adrienne said...

Wow...Chris K's comment was so inspiring--who knew? :)

I feel the same as you, reading these blogs, meeting people who are all going to Boston etc. etc. Running is a culture and most runners are glass "half full" type of people and their is a good vibe being around those kinds of people. Somehow they make us better just by being around them but we make them better too.

In Colorado I lived in the same neighborhood as Constantina Dita (Olympic Gold Medalist in the marathon) every now and then she would pass me on a run. And when I mean pass me, I mean, like how a car would pass--she is FAST.

Anyway, my friend Susan met up with her and asked her about 2012 olympic plans... " In the few short minutes I got to talk with Constantina, I asked her if she was going to run in the 2012 Olympics. She’s said, “I’m trying… but it’s hard!”

It's hard for everyone isn't it. You can read Susan's whole post here if your interested.

http://mindovermileage.blogspot.com/2010/09/its-official-im-runner.html

Andrew you're a runner--the best kind. You inspire me more than a lot of the speedsters out there. Thanks.

Mike said...

It sounds like you are dedicated to your training. Sooner than later you will notice that you are actually passing up other runners. Your not a wannabe runner you are an isabe runner!

Matty B. said...

My friend once said, "Isn't someone who has killed someone once always a murderer?" I feel like the same goes for running.

And so, I'm interested at what point you "become" a runner instead of a "wannabe".

Adam said...

Honestly? I think that EVERYONE feels the way you do. I know I do.

Everyone is a wannabe runner in their own mind. There is always someone faster, more training that can be completed. There is always something.

But, just because we're not the best on the road, doesn't mean that we can't strive to be the best we can be. Keep working, and I'm sure you'll achive speeds/distances you never thought possible.