One of the things I have learned about the trail running community is that, for the most part, the runners are somewhat humble. (Except for you Howie ;).
I think one of the reasons for this is the inability for the layman to comprehend what it takes to get through a 50 - 100 miler. We have all heard the
"100 miles? I get tired driving that far"
"How many days do you plan on doing this?"
to name a few.
As a result, I sort of keep it to myself. I guess this blog is a platform to talk about it when I have nobody else who "gets it" close by.
I say "I am a trail runner" or "distance runner" or "adventure runner", but I try to avoid the term "ultra" outside of the circle of those in the know. It is too much of a pain to explain, and often I am defending the sport from a hostile attack, "That is not healthy, or good for you". Sometimes it is met with someone trying to equate what they do to it. (I won't give examples, but some are pretty funny).
Roadies are different. It is all about the PR, the splits, the training, the gaming, etc. Too much stress. Not my cup of tea.
"Tri's" are the best. And yes, I have many friends who are "Tri's" (term trademarked by Todd E). They will probably agree with this. Warning - following sentences are to be read as sarcastic.
"tri's" define themselves by their gear, and if or if they are not an "Ironman". It is always fun to meet one and they introduce themselves as "Ironman". Then there are the groupies oohhing and ahhhing about how someone can swim, then Bike, THEN RUN! What amazing athleticism!
Okay... enough tri trashing. Sorry gang. Feel free to reciprocate.
So, the point of all of this is how my not so close friends don't even know about my "ultra cool bad boy I am soooo tough" lifestyle.
Last week, as the group I was with was winding down from a stressful week, we were chatting about life and what a great team we made. One of my co-workers complimented me on something, but went on so say "just don't be boring". Or something similar to that.
Huh. I have been called many things. Boring was not one I was used to receiving.
I actually took it as a compliment. I knind of knew what they were getting it, and I am happy to be boring vs. the alternative which they had in mind.
But that stuck with me for a few days. And as my mind wandered, it hit me.
Too many people today portray themselves as a "Renaissance Man". In actuality, they are jacks of all trades, masters of none.
I simplified it even more
Mile wide, Inch deep.
This thought was solidified some as I recall conversations with others about home brewing. I meet people all of the time who claim they make their own beer. I think "cool", and start talking to them, discussing our common interest. Most of the time, I quickly find out that they don't brew their own beer. They happened to be, at some time in history, in close proximity to someone brewing beer. As a result, they figured they were a home brewer by means of "being there". Calling themselves a home brewer added to their width, but they only went an inch deep.
Throughout my years as a musician, I have met countless people who claim they play this, that, and the other instrument. I even met a kid once who claimed to "play every instrument". When I asked if he could play the ophicleide, he gave me a blank stare. Upon further review, I found this kid was an inch deep in his talent with each instrument, but people oohed and aahhed at him for each metaphorical width he added to his reperatoire. I can "play" every common wind insturment made today, but saying so would be offensive to those who play those insturments. I play the tuba, and bass trombone, and I am a hack at some others.
I used to be a competitive sailor on big and small boats. Small, one design boats are fun because the skill of the sailor is one of the most important things needed to win. Big boats get fuzzy, especially non-class, non one design. For those of you boat geeks, PHRF or IMS.
Every few years, a rich "adventurer" comes to a famous race, having dumped millions into a boat which should perform well. He hires an expert crew (we all did it for fun), and tries to win a big race. Or, he tries to set some kind of record.
What they are really after, is widening their breadth of "mile wide" or more. These guys go a little deeper than an inch, but they really don't care about the sport. They care care about their egos, or "lagacies".
So after much pondering, I realized that most of my life has been lived 1-2 inches wide, but a mile deep. Dare I say 100 miles deep? Okay, 50 miles, since I am less than 50% on the hundos.
Sometimes I change up what I go deep on, but it is never more than 2 or 3. Right now it is trail running and cooking (i put the beer in that category for now). But... in reality, it goes like this.
Okay, switch the first 2 (it might be switched for me in the near future anyway).
And before you think I am a lush, the brewing is "the art of brewing". It is not the drinking, it is the creation of a great product. It is all of the hard work, study, and know how to create something others like.
I guess God should be above family.
So the big question is....... is this good, bad, or neither?
If our paths cross, and you don't touch any of my "width", I guess I am boring.
Personally, I am fine with it. I find artistry in the things I do.
And the more I think about it, the inch deep runners are the ones who can't comprehend what we do.
I think trail runners/ultra runners are a mile deep by defacto.
Not sure how wide everybody is. (except for BrotherGrub.... he is WIDE)