"I've run from the arms of lovers. I've run from the eyes of friends. I've run from the hands of kindness. I've run just because I can." - Mary-Chapin Carpenter, 'The Moon and Saint Christopher'
The missus and I both use multiple social media outlets, to varying degrees. We differ in the way we use each individual medium, though. If you looked at my wife's focus on one particular site you would think she's all about the business area in which she's spent the last dozen years. Go to another site and it's more personal, with some business. With me, on the other hand, I'm not so certain there's a clear-cut social media "identity" per se. That might have much to do with the fact my "work" identity depends on the definition of "work." As many readers of this space know I'm a very fortunate guy; I have over 25 years of service with an employer who occasionally looks the other way when I engage in shenanigans which would have me frog-marched out the front door of most corporate organizations.
It did and it did not surprise me, this morning, when my loving bride informed me a former schoolmate of mine asked to connect with her on a professional-based social network. It was a surprise because I thought the schoolmate would have figured out after ten years my wife and I have moved on with our lives. It didn't surprise me when I thought more about it; stalkers have mad-serious endurance, the type for which many athletes would sell their mama to the gypsies. It doesn't mean endurance athletes and runners are not plain nuts. Our saving grace is that most of us are a stride shy of what cartoonist and triathlete Jef Mallett described as "naked, flag-waving, Tour de France-fan crazy."
And when we start to think we are that crazy, something in the world outside reminds us of the very reason we started running. Sure, there are the kids who were nurtured early on in life, the ones who were found to be blessed with the great genetics...all lungs, heart and legs. Most often those are the kids who enter the high school-to-college-to-shoe deal-to-coaching track. But I bet that if I someone gave me a dollar for every citizen-athlete who turned to running because of some slight, some disillusionment, some heartbreak or disappointment, I might be able to buy a few nice things.
What makes me wonder how close we are to that "naked, flag-waving, etc., etc." form of craziness is what happens after a while. The person whose screwed-up life or lifestyle drives them to lace up the shoes and get away from their demons, well, first they appear to have tamed the beast which once threatened to eat them whole. Then, after a while, the demons which they fled show up again. And...rather than make the conscious decision to avoid repeating history, they try to figure out whether Mark Twain was correct, and see if history merely rhymes.
It's the kind of decision-making which makes a coach shake their head.
We are probably the last person who wants to remind the runner of they way they were, a'la Barbra Streisand...they forgot the painful remembrance. Our job is to point the way forward, not to dust off the rear-view mirror. That's where it becomes the responsibility of the fellow runners. Because if we say it it's going to sound like it rhymes with something.