Monday, October 18, 2010
Losing the Passion
I ran the Goodlife Toronto Marathon yesterday, and it was very good. The crowds were enthusiastic. The weather was made to order. The route was pleasant, diverse, scenic, flat in lots of places, downhill for a long while, with a steep half-kilometre climb uphill that made it interesting. The medal was huge, the participants were a nice mix of familiar faces and freshly-minted athletes, the dramas were recognizable and new. The water station people were having fun, and their faces lit up when we thanked them for their efforts.
My feet hurt like hell. One guy spit into the wind and I felt the spray while I was double-fisting gatorade at mile 20. Cars, buses, and streetcars were crossing in front of me and drivers were venting their anger and frustration in any number of ways. There was a pretty strong breeze in my face a lot of the way.
I loved every minute of it; I was as happy thanking the woman who yelled 'nice hair' (might not have been addressed to me, not sure... (!)) as I was cursing blue murder at the streetcar driver crossing in front of me in the final metres of the race. It was an adventure all the way, chock full of little stories and events and emotions and lessons... and that's not the only reason I run marathons.
For me, the marathon experience is about checking out new places to go for marathons, reading reviews, talking to people, studying maps. It's about the history and geography of cities and towns, the shopping strategies, the entertainment possibilities, the local beers, the hotel pools and the museums and art galleries. It's about the spontaneous conversations that break out with other enthusiasts on the course, in the food line at the end, on the street outside the hotel.
I know a couple of people who have lost the desire to run marathons. That's not a bad thing since I know they have other passions that are all-consuming. It's heartbreaking when people don't have something that they are passionate about, when they've lost interest in everything. That's hard to imagine.
Recently two of the most popular Canadian motorcycle magazines featured editorials that talked about losing the passion for riding, and they were written in the first person by the editors of the magazines. And there was no sense of redemption, no "eureka" moment. It was sad beyond measure; what the hell were readers to think?
My dad was a truck driver all his life, and he truly loved trucks. He talked about trucks and driving all the time. About traffic and routes and stores he went to and what bad truckers did and what good truckers did. That was passion.
So don't run marathons if you've lost interest in it. Dive into something else. Like rock climbing (which is incredibly interesting and complex, and endlessly challenging). But find whatever it is really fast, because life is way too short and you have to be a total glutton about it.