Monday, June 28, 2010

Ultra-Running & A Prig's Heart Slowly Changing

We have recently become friends with a great family from church, Sean and Julie. It turns out that Sean's brother is the lead singer in the band Fee. This has caused a number of memories to come flooding back to me and reminded me of yet another beneficial aspect of running long that I'll now relate.

Prior to five years ago, I was a running prig and prick. (I won't make a link to any definitions of prick as most are R rated. The G- rating would be: a person regarded as highly unpleasant.) While prig is a more accurate description, my priggishness resulted in being a prick, including the R-rated aspects. I was a prig and a prick because I looked down on other runners who weren't as good or worthy as myself. I scorned people:
• if they ever walked during a run
• wore headphones and listened to music while running ("It isn't natural, they miss the sounds of birds, traffic, or anything other than their music for that matter")
• who stopped at aid stations to take a break
• who carried fanny packs
• whose running form was even just a little off
• whose heads bobbed too much
• who ran with tight fists, arms swinging too high
• who ran in the wrong shoes.

It wasn't just that I had priggish thoughts; I had a prig's heart. This meant that all my thoughts toward others were condescending when it came to running, and a few other areas of life, and no one was safe from my judgment. I was confident that everybody could learn from me.

As Leadville 100 approached in the fall of 2008, it became apparent that my good friend and running partner, Pete, was not going to be running. This left me to run the first 50 miles alone. Now being alone is one of the bittersweet aspects of running long. I love and I hate being alone. But the thought of running those first 50 miles alone and trying to make the cut-offs was too much for me. So, I decided that I would break one of my cardinal rules, buy a cheap mp3 player, and listen to music while running.

And here is where the band Fee comes in. I created a playlist called worship. It contained a lot of songs. I burned the same songs for Marty and it took up 3 cds. I burned them for Marty so she could in some way be a part of that week with me (she stayed home). She later told me it really helped her. The first two songs were songs by Fee; "All Because of Jesus," and "Beautiful the Blood." There were other songs by Fee on that Playlist. In fact, I can even picture certain places on the Leadville course where certain of those songs played.

I hope that I'm not as priggish and prickish as I used to be. I think that bands like Laura Story, U2, Cold Play, Taylor Swift, Switchfoot, Goo Goo Dolls, Leeland (oh, Leeland!), David Crowder, Starfield, Tomlin, Andy Park and Fee have all played a significant roll in that transformation.

So, Sean, tell your brother that his music has traversed Hope Pass (hopefully one of these years it will traverse both directions), has been played on many a full-moon night, has been sung too on many a leaf-strewn trail, and has played a significant roll in making me a better, more gracious runner and person. Tell him thanks from me, so if he ever wonders if it's worth it, he'll know of at least one person his efforts have impacted.

1 comment:

Chris Swenke said...

I feel better now that you won't be judging me as I break out my Prince and 90's jams on loop 2 this weekend.

If we come across each other out there I will surely unplug and enjoy some banter. Best of luck and have a great race this weekend.