Yesterday I attended a Health and Wellness expo at one of my places of employment, representing one of my OTHER places of employment. The many facets of my career all intertwine, which is pretty damn cool in my opinion. Our display table was right next to a table of two nurses that were performing blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen content readings. When there was a lull in expo attendees, I hopped into the chair next to me and asked the nurse if she would mind taking my stats.
112/70. 61 bpm. 100% on the pulse oximeter reading. All great, considering I chatted my way through the readings (which is not protocol, and I’m pretty sure all of us knew better) and had just chugged some caffeinated Nuun.
As I was standing up, content with this information, a friend/client of mine walked by. “I’m healthy, ready to run!” I declared to her. She jokingly retorted back something about running really, really, far, and then let the nurse know that I was doing “a hundred mile race”.
The nurse looked at me and said “100 miles…a bicycle ride?”
I looked back and said casually “no, running”
With the most deadpan, serious face I have ever seen, the nurse paused, and then asked me “why would you ever want to do that?”
In recent months, I’ve been asked this same question at least a dozen times. It’s usually accompanied with some sort of laugh and “I don’t even like to drive that far” comment. I typically respond to those with a laugh of my own, and some sort of “yeah it is crazy, isn’t it?” comment, and then we move on. But something was different about this woman’s question. The look on her face and the seriousness of her tone almost demanded a legitimate, reasonable answer as to why anyone would subject themselves to such a thing.
And I didn’t have an answer.
As cliché as it sounds, in that moment, with the nurse looking at me waiting for an answer, time stood still. My brain raced through a million reasons I could have given her. Because I really like to run (no, really, I do). Because I don’t begin to see my true abilities until at least 45 miles into a race. Because I love to hate the hurt. Because I’ve met some of the most fantastic people and made the most incredible memories during these types of races. Because failure is the easiest thing to do. Because I like potato chips and tailwind, sometimes together. Because complacency is a dangerous condition.
I thought of this blog post I wrote where I tried to explain some of the reasons why I do what I do, but then immediately thought of this other blog post I had just read, that essentially said no one actually cares about these reasons, because they’ll never be able to understand (so save your breath). I laughed to myself, because a response of “you should read my blog post about that” would be such an obnoxious 21st century, millennial response.
And then I thought of all of the reasons I’m still not even sure of, and can’t even begin to understand myself.
Eventually I responded with something like “there are too many reasons to explain”, and my friend added “it’s because she’s crazy.” I laughed, as I always do.
And in that moment I decided I didn’t actually need an answer, for that nurse, for this race, for any of it. Though I’ll keep running, and pretending that I’m looking for one.