Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Not waving, but running.

In my formative years, I spent a lot of time reading.

I spent a lot of time with words, mostly those written by what could be considered as part of the Western Civilization canon, but also some other writing with a less familiar, more esoteric (read eastern) nascence. And I did so in several languages - some of which I can no longer remember.

There are a lot of those words and turns of phrases and images swimming around in my head and every so often, one or six pop out of me. The result is not unlike the experiences of a teenager rubbing up against something not altogether unpleasant. The expression from others is similar too.

Sometime after I "grew up", however, and started getting paid to write corporatese, I lost that voracious appetite for reading, absorbing and, occasionally ejaculating, as it were, these great thoughts I had synthesized from others.

One phrase, however stuck. It was from a poem I only noticed because my lover was reading it as part of an assignment a few years ago.

Not waving, but drowning.  I won't go into any analysis or discussion, of this work, or Stevie Smith. But the image has stuck with me. I assimilated it as I was taking up this new sport of triathlon and trying to balance young family and jobs. Maybe that is why is resonated with me.

I pictured myself, at times, in the middle of a the sea,  not quite sure if I was waving back to those on the beach or trying to get their attention.

Well, I didn't drown.

I didn't get a DNS or a DNF (Did Not Start/Finish) but I did get a DND - Did Not Drown on my way to my Iron goals that I met thrice.

Still. I find myself in an unsure gesticulation.

Injured and annoyed by it, I have chronicled my attempt to get back on track (while avoiding the track and trying to spend time on the trail.)

Running beside from friends from Western Cycle in -7C on April 17, 2011.
This past Sunday, I entered and ran in the Regina Police Service Half Marathon. I ran this race many years ago as my first ever half. I still use it as a touchstone of where I am physically and mentally.

I have run it in more than 2:37 hours and less than 1:58.
Here is a link to my race report for a more technical, less introspective analysis.

I did try to run it at 1:45 last year, but a very bad flu the week before caught up with me halfway in the race and the wheels came off at 14k, even though I was very much on pace.

This year, injured, tired, and a little fed up, I ran this race just because. Just to see what I can do with very little training. I ran it in 2:07 and change. Not amazing. But I was expecting to take 2:20 something. It is interesting that this race was the day before a world record setting Boston Marathon, in which a number of friends competed very successfully.

Photo Credit Paul Cutting
What is amazing is that I ran completely with myself.

I listened to my body.

There were times I told it to HTFU or to STFU. Other times, I yielded and stopped to pee.

But I was at peace during this run. I was in control. The pain in my heel was there. The burning in my calf was manageable and predictable. The increase and decreases of pace came when I requested them.

I didn't stress when I was passed. And I didn't revel when I passed.

The little voices in my head kept me company and distracted me, rather than discouraging me, as they used to.

This was a good run.
This was a great race.  I became one with my body and made peace with my running demons. 

I won the only race that was important to me. 


  1. Hope your foot heals and you start enjoying runnig for it's own sake, not only as training for races. I'm also glad you had a great race and ejaculated your thoughts for us.

  2. I love that poem. I am happy you didn't drown. It was sad for the man in the poem. I have often thought of that too. That I am waving, and waiting for help, but they just wave back. Ahhh, indifference. You are my sedative.

  3. Sounds like the greatest race. Congrats!

    Oh and that line, "Not waving, but drowning." Boy did that hit a chord. That is so me so much of my life.

    So happy you had such a wonderful race.

  4. Thanks all. Puts a whole different perspective on waving, doesn't it?


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