There are those who do not give up the race even at Christmas! How does it appear in the eyes of others?
Sociological investigation, from its origins, has tried to expose the phenomena of human society: the relationships that bind the individual to the social groups to which he belongs, the internal dynamics of these groups, as well as their reciprocal relationships. . An investigation that, of course, continues to profit even today. According to this point of view, the arrival of the Christmas holidays represents an excellent opportunity for investigation, since they allow us to relate to people with whom we tend to have a more “rarefied” relationship during the course of the year. . The period of the Christmas holidays, in fact, undoubtedly represents certain peculiarities: you meet relatives or friends who live far from us, perhaps in reality rather different from ours, or you have the opportunity to travel to more or less destinations. exotic, which allow us to come into contact with populations, habits and rhythms of life more or less distant from ours. Here, then, it seemed spontaneous to reflect, with a fair dose of irony, on how “others” – those who are not part of the running community – can see us runners, tireless enthusiasts of the athletic gesture of the endurance race. Even at Christmas. Certainly. Here, then, how we would appear in the eyes of those who (lucky them?) Are not yet accustomed to that variegated world which includes running shoes, running events, bibs, medals, training tables, physiotherapy sessions, rhythms per kilometer and whoever has more, the more he puts.
Christmas training –
Let’s start with Christmas training. Inevitable. As every year. Indeed, planned in detail for months. In the broad spectrum of the running population, among the most solvable cases, we find the “moderate runner”. This will be limited to a lighthearted and cheerful regenerating slow cross-country session with the usual training companions or runners friends of the neighborhood. Nothing more. Of course there will be red caps, in perfect Santa Claus style, most of the time of dubious taste however and certainly more than inflated in this period. Toast to exchange good wishes at the end of the race and, also for this year, our “moderate runner” will be able to sit at the table without too many feelings of guilt. Stamped tag. His did. So far so good, or almost – yes, because, let’s face it, a day of rest, especially if at Christmas, everyone could (or should?) Grant it. We fly over nosebleeds and shrugs from non-sporting partners (of both sexes). Domestic discontent, meandering, are still contained. At the moment.
Moving forward in the phenomenology of the contemporary runner we find “the evolved runner”. He, of course (needless to say), is not satisfied with the canonical Christmas run with friends. No, he has to train. He has to respect certain rhythms. Which? Those in the table. It does not matter if it was downloaded from the internet from a running blog where the last article dates back to before the pandemic or it does not matter if (when it is the coach who sends it) accompanying this large figure (complete with typographic lights and underlines ) the recommendation (more paternal than technical): “If you are tired, rest or run slower”. No way. The “evolved runner” over the years has matured within himself a mix of a sense of moral duty to envy the Kantian moral law together with a competitive spirit equal to that of a young Chinese diver vying to join the team Olympic. The fact is that the advanced runner can no longer run for the pleasure of running (not even at Christmas). No, he has to run at “his” pace. So here he goes out on Christmas morning alone, with his GPS watch set to his specific target zone. If he slows down, suddenly the “Beep beep beep” arrives to tell him to urge the pace, just as if he exaggerates the acoustic warning it reminds him to reduce speed.
If this running animal may seem to you a bizarre exponent of the fauna of runners, you have not yet seen the most fearful (and incurable): the “Athlete”. He doesn’t just run alone… no, no; much more. The “Athlete” on Christmas day decides to do the specific training, the intense one to understand (repeated, fartlek, medium background and so on …). Disdainful of the fact that sports facilities and athletics tracks throughout Italy are closed (for and with all due respect to the guardians and managers), contemptuous of the treacherous ice on the roads and careless of the multitude of relatives who, arrived from the most remote corners of the globe, they invaded the house like a refugee camp. Undaunted, he continues to carry on his training program. No longer a healthy habit, not even a sporting passion … Running has long since crossed over into pathological obsession. After all, the races are looming and the challenge with the dressing room mate to win the category prize (strictly in kind) is just around the corner. The countdown towards the “Potato Race” does not stop. Here it is, then, to wake up at dawn, like every morning. With the difference that on Christmas day, he also has to zigzag among the relatives who sleep in the living room. Tucked up over his hair, complete with a balaclava, more than ready for a run, he seems to be going to rob a bank. The Christmas day menu (which only for him means the planned training and not what you will eat in a few hours) reports: 10 repetitions of 1000 meters. Recovery of 1 minute and 30 seconds. Here is our “Athlete” running up and down the designated kilometer for repeated tests. Shoes with carbon plate, pulsations at 180 bpm and a cloud of vapor with each breath, given the external temperature close to or below zero. At the arrival of the last test the scream, which not even Djokovic in the Webledon final would have made so acute. Only the Grinch is missing, to sanction the death of the spirit of Christmas with this quixotic image – let’s face it – of what we are, or could be, we runners seen through the eyes of those who, after all, “do not understand us”.
Yet, it is useless to deny it, indeed, in the name of the category I claim it without shame (and almost with a bit of pride): in this human comedy, we have all been there …
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