But first, a quick diversion:
As much as I like to fancy myself a progressive, bleeding-heart liberal, vegetarian-hippie-type-person, it’s true that few things make me happier than the first trip to the mall during Christmastime. It’s always a surprise, and my [apparently capitalist at its core] heart literally gets warm with Christmas cheer. I am a retail executive’s dream: single twentysomething with cash, and a healthy backlog of nostalgia, to spend.
In these early days of the season, when the crowds are smaller and I’m not yet sick of hearing “All I Want for Christmas is You,” I love it all: the twinkle lights and garlands, “Santa”, the nonstop soundtrack, the seasonally-themed packaging, the sheer volume of Bath & Body Works holiday scents (you guys! Hot Chocolate this year! CRANBERRY PEAR BELLINI!!).
I tried desperately but unsuccessfully to think of an “E” Xmas word to make this all tie together, and honest-to-god, I had a brief moment where I thought to myself, “yule?” Because “Y” is a sometimes-vowel, and to my brain sounds an awful lot like “E” in this word… (“euwelle?”…it works. No it doesn’t. I know.)
So onward to the real point of this post:
E is for Evolve
I found this snippet thanks to @NewYorker on twitter today, and I love it. This weekend was the New York City Marathon (talk about a life goal, y’all. Someday!), so they went to the archives for this piece from 1977:
TAKES: PAIN AND THE MARATHON
“Marathoning as a pursuit, according to the runners we talked with at the plaza, often starts out as jogging. Some joggers evolve into runners. “If you’re a jogger and someone jogs faster than you, he’s a runner,” Dr. William Esposito, a radiologist from Summit, New Jersey, told us as he warmed up for the race. And some runners evolve into marathoners. Charlie Hayward, the sales director or St. Martin’s Press … puts it this way: “Joggers get started because they hear it’s good for their heart and peace of mind. Then they get interested in maybe going a little faster, doing a certain number of miles a day, completing a certain course. When the course gets long enough, pain sets in, and the question is whether you’re going to believe in your pain and quit or keep on going. If you keep on going, you realize how subjective pain is—you learn that sometimes it’s telling you to watch out for your body but that at other times it’s just complaining. And then you learn how to deal with the complaints—you move your attention away from the pain and keep on running.”
—Anthony Hiss, “Twenty-six-Point-Two-Miles,” The Talk of the Town, November 7, 1977
I especially love the last bit (hence the bolding, obv) because it’s so, so true—of running, and of life, like most of the running lessons I’ve learned over the years. I always tell people, if they confront me with the excuse, “I don’t know how you do it…I just HATE running,” that I used to hate running, too. You just have to keep going at first until you get past that threshold, whatever it is for you, that’s telling you to stop. You have to believe that there’s something better on the other side of it, and before you know it, you’ll find that there IS.
This December will be the first year since 2007 that I won’t be heading down to Memphis to run (or watch, ’09) the St. Jude Half Marathon. (My friends and original motivation to run in Memphis have moved to Denver. Of course, Colorado has marathons, too…) So this December I’ll be filled with nostalgia for Christmas, and also for running on Beale St., for my friends, and (yes, even as a vegetarian-hippie-type-person…) barbecue nachos.