Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Monkey On My Back

Check out this interview: http://ultrarunnerpodcast.com/george-zack-interview/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=george-zack-interview


I "should" be writing articles, but sometimes I can't bring myself to even think about anything running related.

Running, cooking and writing have all been activities I felt compelled to do at one time or another. I've never been one of those people who experiences great joy from doing the things I feel driven to do. That doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed aspects of these activities, and I have been content when time ceases to exist when I get caught up being in the moment while doing them. I'm just saying that I'm not the type to claim that I run, write and cook because any of these labors make me happy. These actions may improve my mood or distract me from bad feelings. They may even make me temporarily happy, but rarely do I go at them thinking, "Oh, this will be fun."

Recently I met an artist who shows his work in a gallery in Boulder. He describes his painting as the monkey on his back, driving him to improve and push himself. My problem is that lately I'm stuck in big black and white thinking. It makes no sense to push myself running when I'm tired and can't even imagine running 7-minute pace anymore. So I go out and jog and occasionally jog a little faster. No monkey on my back directing me there, unless you consider the sheer compulsion to run the little simian cracking the whip. I'm not even a runner anymore. In fact, a neighbor mentioned that she saw me JOGGING the other day, jogging, not running. And I was jogging. Fucking hell.

I stopped cooking completely when I realized how tied up in my eating disorder making food for others was, and I don't really have the desire to get back into that. Writing is as much of a joke, maybe even more, as my running, only at least I have history with running. Running is also supposed to be good for my health, in theory anyway. On the other hand, writing doesn't have the potential to further wreck my body.

It's funny that I never thought about quitting horseback riding, even though I knew I would never amount to much in that sport. I quit only when running had become my obsession. My friend was a talented rider. I wasn't gifted, but I enjoyed doing it. Improvements tend to come quickly at first with riding, and there's always work to be done on on the relationship and connection with the horse, which is much different than other sports. It's easier to accept not being the best when there are so many other issues to consider in riding. Lately, though, I'm finding it difficult to accept not having the potential to be good at something. My big question is: Why bother? I don't know if musicians ever experience this, but I assume some of them do. Others are probably content to just do what they do, whether they reach an audience or not.

I'm thinking about quitting writing. Actually, I am quitting for now. I'm giving up writing fiction, for sure and taking a break from the articles, too. Fiction is definitely not my thing. I think it takes a certain kind of individual to write fiction, and it's not me. Right now, I'm just going to take a break from all of it and see what happens. I may still blog, but that's not structured writing. It's more me spilling my thoughts out on the computer screen, which I might need, as I'm too caught up in my head these days.

Whatever new hobby I decide to try, I'm thinking getting the monkey off my back might be a good thing. Maybe I'll take up professional TV watching.


  1. That's my dream job - professional TV watching (as long as I get to choose the shows!).

    Hey, there's nothing wrong with jogging. That's what I do - all the time! Anyway, elite marathoners look like they're jogging, even when running 5:30 miles. Hope you can find a love of running again. My mate Jim is a bit like you - he hates running, but loves racing. So he doesn't 'train' much - maybe once a week. But he races 3 or 4 times a week.

    1. Thank you, Ewen. Maybe if I stop fighting it, things will start feeling better.

      Heh- I would definitely have to pick the shows. It would be no fun to be forced to watch 8 hours of Full House reruns!


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