I am a week from being a day from running--or walking--my first 100-miler. It is a week from being a day from being five years since I first volunteered at this race, mostly by accident, falling into a hobby which has defined me, in the way that the meaningless things we occupy ourselves with do.
The field is good. It is good although it's local--thus lacking name elites--and it is good because it's local. There is last year's winner, and the first winner. There is the accompanying 50-mile race's course record holder, and the marathon's course record holder. There are people who aren't from here, but mostly, there are people who know this place, have done it or something like it before, and yet are drawn back for reasons I can't articulate but can feel, as I'm one such person myself, being the marathon record holder to whom I just referred.
I don't think I'll win, though, I should say that. Or perhaps I shouldn't, as many people argue you need all sorts of confidence heading into any athletic endeavor, much less one that will, to put it gently, fuck you in several viscerally severe ways. And it's not that I lack confidence, so much as I can read past results, and I know I'm not the best guy there--certainly not at 100 miles.
There is also the fact that, most crucially, I don't really care.
It is a run, or a walk in the park, or some other half-winking understatement that actually mirrors how I feel quite accurately. I want it to be a nice day, perhaps a bit cooler than usual, and I want to enjoy myself while getting it done.
I am not a meme and I just can't register that snarling passion it takes to regard this as the ultimate test of one's self, that running means I can overcome anything, can do anything! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)
But I do care, in the way that one cares about a thing that does not matter at all, and yet has given life its present contours. I know it is manufactured adversity for a man who has known nothing but a comfortably middle-class white male life. But I know also--because I went to college, see previous sentence--the knots one can get tangled in, attempting to discover, discern, define life's purpose--thanks philosophy classes!
My next post will probably be ex post facto. I really hope I will tell you I didn't quit.