How soon we forget the pain of the last marathon

Running conversationI run and ride with people who are both conservative and liberal. Always have. Always will. Sometimes politics comes up in conversation. Sometimes it doesn’t. The run or ride is what’s important at the time.

Here’s the interesting aspect of all this however. It was once said by Olympic marathon champ Frank Shorter, and I paraphrase, that the only reason you would ever do another marathon is because you’ve forgotten how badly the last one hurt.

Of course there are people who are gluttons for punishment. Who run marathons every weekend and live happily ever after to tell about it. But I doubt they race at the level at which Frank Shorter competed.

Marathoning has become commodified, part of a cult of accomplishment that in many ways confuses completion with quality.

70s-era marathoner Bill Rodgers once branded much of what he saw in the burgeoning marathon boom “graceless striving.” He later walked that statement back a bit because it was perceived as elitist. Perhaps he even changed his mind upon realizing marathoning benefited people in ways that at first seemed useless to a man capable of winning. I was with Bill Rodgers one day when a man ran up to the vehicle in which we were riding and asked him for a bit of advice for a 4-hour marathoner. “You can run for four hours?” Rodgers asked incredulously. He makes an interesting point. It takes more guts to be slow (or even stupid) sometimes than it does to win.

That reminds me that our current electoral process has become a similarly protracted process for choosing public officials. Two years out from the 2016 Presidential election we are already debating the candidates and outcome. American politics has become one long, stupid marathon. It hurts everyone to proceed this way.

Let’s call it for what it really is. Graceless striving. Here we sit with the results of the 2014 election in which millions of Americans voted for a party that absolutely trashed the nation’s economy by 2008 and six years later they have forgotten the pain and suffering the nation felt due to unbudgeted wars, unregulated financial shenanigans and corporate and religious zealotry driving the party in power. But people are all too happy to sign up for another run with the Republicans. It makes no sense. But neither does marathoning if you think about it.

Apparently they used the last six years to forget painful recovery it took to get over the marathon of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in office. It’s a comedy, really, in which the real people who control the nation’s destiny never really show their faces at all. The moneyed few and the CIA pull the strings. The rest is just theater.

My conservative friends are crowing at the supposed triumph. But one wonders what they’ll think when America inevitably hits the wall again at 20 miles. The incoming party wants America to run on nothing. They’ll slash budgets and even shut down the government to get their way. It’s happened before. It will happen again.

It will hurt to run the nation on nothing. We haven’t even completely recovered from the last race. In cycling we call it a bonk when someone runs out of energy during a ride. Often you feel great up to that moment when the juice runs out.

Those of us who run and ride should be smarter than this. We know how it works. Yet we watch in wonder as the politicians keep on running away with our hopes and dreams.

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About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @gofast and blogs at werunandride.com, therightkindofpride.com and at 3CCreativemarketing.com. Online portfolio: http://www.behance.net/christophercudworth
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4 Responses to How soon we forget the pain of the last marathon

  1. bgddyjim says:

    Your thought process is mind boggling. It makes me wonder if you truly believe what you write or that you’re trying to convince others that the Emperor’s clothes are really there, they’re simply invisible to everyone other than the enlightened. Of course, as is so often the case with the enlightened, the joke’s on them.

    • Well all of the above is true. I don’t think in traditional channels. I believe at heart I’m the true conservative. I believe in Christianity as a spiritual metaphor. Just as Jesus did. He taught in parables and castigated the Pharisees for turning scripture into literal law. I believe in conservation as a first rule of conservatism. First do no harm to the world, or repair what you damage. I believe in financial accountability, the ultimate conservative instinct, and one that most liberals truly believe in. I believe in government as a cultural force. America was founded as a government and a nation so that people could be served by its vision and its organization. So when I write I hold these principles up to the light and compare them to what other people hold up to the light as truth. And when needed, I point out the vagaries and hypocrisies of what I see from “true” conservatism to that brand that is obsessed with control, power and authority based on force of will, not verity.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Oh c’mon man…

        Oh, and America was founded as a People with a government, not the other way around. Funny how you guys always get that wrong when accusing conservatives of being power mongers… You have the wrong party labeled as obsessed with power and control. Or will we have to elect Libs in order to see what’s in them first? (An ode to Nan-Po). Lib Politicians are the biggest lying liars on the planet – the only way they can win is to manipulate numbers and pretend they’re conservatives. They hide behind that everything they truly believe in because it’s so ugly to what this country is, they’d never win again. I miss the good old JFK libs. Today’s Che libs are ugly. So, maybe you are one of the old hold-outs. We’ll never know because one thing is for certain, no way you’d cop to being the other in polite company. They never do. Funny, that.

  2. Not so funny that all those JFK libs are dead from gunshots. JFK. RFK. MLK. John Lennon. It’s no coincidence either. What single thing have Republicans done in the last 30 years that benefited this country long term? There is nothing to point to. Reagan the supposed conservative leader was a key borrower who raised the national debt and the debt ceiling numerous times. Now Republicans shut down the government over those same acts. Bush I promised “no new taxes” and raised them. Bush II dropped them and GUTTED the economy to the point of a near depression. His unbudgeted wars further bankrupted the country. You have to go back to Eisenhower to find a Republican President that understood the country. That general warned against the military/industrial complex that would ruin and run America. Between him there was Nixon (the ultimate psychopathic liar) but at least he passed the Environmental Protection Act that took a step toward halting polluters from destroying America. Now all that Republicans can manage to do is act contrary to the purpose of the law from the Constitution (look at our Supreme Court, all conservatives, who call corporations “people”) to the installation of people in office whose personal beliefs defy the very purpose of the office. Look at James Inhofe who doesn’t even understand basic science. Now the Repugs are putting him in charge of our nation’s committee that deals with scientific issues. There’s a cognitive dissonance to everything conservatives do. Everything. Even religious conservatives can’t get it right on the Bible. 30% of Americans refuse to accept even basic science. It’s pathetic, backwards and anachronistic. It’s also very, very stupid. But when you insinuate there is a moral failure on the part of liberals, what are you blaming it on? We’ve outlawed slavery, defended and installed civil rights for blacks and minorities and women, protected the environment from a continual onslaught of massive polluters, brought equal right rights to the workplace, supported unions that banned child labor, ran the government through and out of the Great Depression, led our nation through the World War II, sent man to the moon, funded and supported science and founded the government of the United States. That’s right: America’s Constitution is a liberal, not a conservative document. It guarantees free rights as a moral and social enterprise. Conservatives have done NOTHING but fight the core morals of that document with racism, discrimination, white privilege, slaughtering millions of native Americans, claimed Manifest Destiny, demanded that America is a “Christian” nation when the Constitution denies that very principle, and started multiple wars (Vietnam, Iraq 2 and Afghanistan, Korea and a few more) with no plan for completion. So forget your claims that Liberals are power-obsessed. We’re obsessed with social justice and equality. Conservatives are obsessed with private property, wealth, religious and political control over social issues, and finding enemies where there are none.

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