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The Something About Food? Blog

This is the Something About Food? Blog, where Chef Chris Clarke discusses new podcast episodes, travel, restaurants, and more!

A blog about food, family, and travel by the mostly-vegan Chef Chris Clarke.   

Sum It Up Sunday - Not So Pretty

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Calling myself a “runner” took a long time. Since I was 5 years old, I’ve played sports where running is a big part of the play. To me it wasn’t running, it was “playing” that sport. In college, my shitty soccer coach would mock my slowness even though he had to admit I was the best defensive player he had. And that definitely fed into my belief that I was not a “runner”.

I have never been fast, and sprinting for me is a faster jog. I was, however, able to play entire soccer or basketball games without needing a sub. The realization that I am an endurance runner didn’t come to me until I was in my early 40’s. Even after running numerous 5Ks and a couple of marathons (one where I literally came in last), I still thought, “nope, I’m too slow to be a runner”.

Easter Sunday run in the rain along the coast in San Sebastian Spain.

Easter Sunday run in the rain along the coast in San Sebastian Spain.

Only after finishing four 24Hr Runs did I begin to call myself a runner. I have run literally all around the world. And still, there is guilt in calling myself a runner. That is because I don’t run pretty: I’m slow, I wheeze, I spit and blow snot rockets; not pretty. Yet run I do, and runner I am.

The book that many of you may have read, Born to Run, gave the endurance athletes who were competing in the race in Mexico nicknames. Former World Record holder (and vegan) Scott Jurek was called El Venado (the Deer), Micha True, who came up with the race, was Caballo Blanco (White Horse), and female World Record breaker and Ultra Queen Ann Trason was Bruja (the Witch). If I was in that book I would be Burro, because they are strong, intelligent, have endurance and are not fast or graceful. Yep, that is me!

I am not one to get “high” while running. It hurts. I’m paying attention to the trail so I don’t face-plant. I’m making sure I’m on balance on the downhills, wheezing and hoping I don’t break anything. There is nothing to make me high in all of that. When I am finished, covered in sweat, snot and mud, however, I am happy that the trail was there for me and that I was able to finish it.

Running solo is my norm. There is too much going on for me to usually enjoy company. There is also the guilt that I’m holding them back. My friend Bree is one exception to that norm. She is a bazillion times faster than me, yet she would cheerily chatter away as I trod on. There is no judgement from her. Just running, laughing, and encouraging one another in life (Balls to the wall!)

My niece Sarah is another exception. For over a year we had our weekly Sunday Rundays. She is also a lot faster than me. We would rarely talk: she, right behind me, head down, ear buds in, eyes on my heels and enjoying the trails I introduced her to. We didn’t need more than that to enjoy our time together. My favorite all-time run with her was when her grandfather picked us up after finishing the Mesa Trail in Boulder. He was one of those runner’s who helped lead the running boom of the late 60’s and early 70’s, and the Mesa Trail was his literal stomping ground. He was so pleased and proud that Sarah had run in his literal footsteps.

Running isn’t for everyone. Hell, I once thought running wasn’t for me. Yet we humans were not built to be sedentary. Move, people! Ride a bike, play basketball or tennis, go for a hike or walk. Get off your duff and move! Dance, skateboard… move. Move. Move!

Even a 1 mile run up over 10k feet in Leadville CO is running. No matter what my lungs were thinking…ow…

Even a 1 mile run up over 10k feet in Leadville CO is running. No matter what my lungs were thinking…ow…

Whether you move pretty not doesn’t matter. Just move. I don’t run pretty, and it is pretty amazing that I run.