A recent long run (in preparation for my first event of the spring) reminded me of a basic truth: to be a distance runner, is to run a distance. And there are times when that is all you can do. Not fast, not pretty, not feeling grand. Especially toward the end of a long run, when all your strategies are behind you and it’s hard to spare the energy even to dig that Advil out of your pocket, much less to tear open a gel-pack and re-fuel, you may need something really simple to fall back on.
When I find myself having one of those moments; when nothing else works, I seek satisfaction in the plain belligerence of not quitting and remind myself what I realized when someone asked how I’d completed my first marathon – ‘by the end, I was too worn out to do anything but keep on putting one foot in front of the other; I was too stupid to stop.’
Now, I’ve wondered if it would be more politically-correct to say I am ‘Too Smart To Stop,’ but that’s giving a tired runner more credit than they – or at least this one – deserve. Maybe ‘Too Determined To Stop,’ (TDTS) would be better, or ‘Too Committed To Quit,’ (TCTQ), or any number of other formulations… Sometimes, just pondering the possible variations on that theme is enough to distract me for a while, and when your feet are hurting – and your knees, and your hips, and your shoulders, and just about everything from your blistered toes to your sun-burned scalp – distraction is pretty valuable in itself.
Which is one more reason this MPR is proud to admit to all the world: “I don’t run pretty, I don’t run fast, I’m just TSTS – Too Stupid to Stop.”