Monday, November 06, 2006

Those Hidden Little Worlds

What do people use for motivation?

I ran in my first road race yesterday afternoon (long story). After cruising along for just over two miles, I was passed by a man who was easily over 70 years old. Seconds later, an eight year old boy passed me. These two were just about the oldest and youngest runners of the 600.

What was going through their minds? I can imagine a 70 year old man wanting to run a 5k just to say he did it, but this guy was clearly not just doing a one time run on a whim. He was pushing seven minute miles. And the young kid, what has his motivation? Was he running for his parents? To prove something to himself? For fun?

Maybe I just have trouble figuring out how so many different people of all ages, shapes, and sizes could all be competing in the same event. Most of the activities I've been a part of lately seem to appeal to a much smaller subset of the population.

This is somehow more logical to me because sharing a common interest is something that allows us to immediately relate to strangers. Did running with this crowd today mean that I had become a part of some new subset of the population that I wasn't even aware of?

In the weeks leading up to the race, whenever I heard any of my friends talk about running, I brought up the race. All the sudden I realized that a lot of my friends actually did. I wouldn't have even noticed if my ears hadn't been on the lookout.

Then I discovered (where you can draw out a route using google maps and it will tell you distance and elevation change) and told a few people about it. One replied linking me to a watch that has a built in GPS. When you get home, you just upload your data and it shows you where you went, and how fast. All of the sudden, I felt like I had become a part of this secret little club that I didn't even realize existed.

It's so interesting how there are these little subsets of interest all around us, and we can go on without so much as noticing them. Then, you have a reason to start getting involved and all of the sudden, it's amazing how much enthusiasm and passion you've been missing.

I doubt I'll become a runner, but just this one race was enough to make me wonder how many other things I haven't been aware of all these years.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Want a really obscure example of this? How about driving while playing the flute, as mentioned in these two Seth Godin posts: