Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Self-Awareness, Humility...and Ultrarunning

Via Mike the Mad Biologist, who directs us to Freddie de Boer...wherein we learn the definition of humility:

…no one is remotely as impressed with you as you are with yourself. No one else mistakes your time for a precious commodity. Self-regard does not make you important, nor does a chronic overestimation of your own value actually make you valuable. You are not the cosmos. Most of the people around you are laughing at you, all the time. They are right to laugh, because you have violated a basic social compact. You believe that what you want and value is more important than what others want and value. In fact, no one thinks much about what you want at all. Some of the best advice you can give: remember that the minute you leave a room, no one is thinking about you.
One thing I can say for Ultrarunners: we are the embodiment of humility.  Chalk it up to introversion, withdrawal to spend hours on the trails alone, all that introspection seemingly resulting in heightened self-awareness...whatever, we are a self-effacing lot. 

I have only ever met a couple Ultrarunners who seemed arrogant.  This went way beyond "it's not bragging if you can do it" acknowledgement that we can in fact run vast distances. 

On the other side of the arrogance scale, at my first ultra ever, the Catoctin Trail Races (in Maryland, in 1994, I think) I ran into none otehr than David Horton, who once held the Appalachian Trail thru-running record of 52 days for the 2,181 mile trail, back in 1991).  We were enjoying some post-race food at the same picnic table, and I introduced myself to him, not knowing who he was.

Of course, when I heard his name, I blurted out something like "I've seen your name in print a couple times!", to which David replied: "Yeah, if you pay somebody enough money they'll print anything."


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