The Road Runner / Coyote Dichotomy

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I’m in a dark place; I seem to have gone from renting an apartment in such a land to being landed gentry; if not a permanent resident there I certainly have a vacation home amongst the dismal and depressed.

There are times when I aspirationally seek to write something profound… or maybe insightful… but at the very least I try and aim for something worthy of skimming.  Today’s a moment of pretention and I’m not entirely sure where it falls on the continuum of quality.  But it seemed like a good idea when I first opened my copy of Microsoft Word on this flight to this weekend’s marathon in Hawaii.

You know those sports movies/interviews/documentaries/self-help books wherein we learn competitors “visualize” their success?  The ones that demonstrate how the athlete recites a mantra or engages in some good luck ritual to set him or herself up for victory?  There are times when I think I have my own mantra/ritual… and then there are times when I think it’s all a bunch of hooey about a whole bunch of hooey.

But as I said above – I’m in a dark place.  And I’m willing to try just about anything.  My brother recently advised me to maybe go see a doctor for the lingering tailbone issues, the pain in my butt still being, well, a pain in my butt.  But I waved this sensible advice aside.  Ergo, maybe I’m *not* willing to try anything.  Between you, me, and the other tens of readers, I’ve found sports medicine on these kinds of injuries to be a waste of time, money and energy.  Maybe the stretches or techniques they prescribe are a benefit but the diagnosis and treatment usually comes down to rest, ice, compression, elevation – the RICE methodology that’s been drilled into athletes since time immemorial (albeit maybe not always in that same terminology).  But it always comes down to “maybe you shouldn’t run as much as you are…”

Which, yeah, maybe but… well… do I run to feel better even if it causes pain or am in pain because I’m running trying to feel better?  That’s not phrased correctly but, shrug, you know what I mean.  And if not, well, relying on me at this point to make sense is perhaps senseless.

Bottom line: I’m not running well.  Of that I can aver and testify under oath.  I’ve written about it on this stilly blog thing seemingly ad nauseam.  And all of that is contributing to my mood to be sure.  I’ve tried internally analyzing a few things, not only physical interrogations but mental diagnostics as well to see if I can’t break through the “wall” of doubt, pain, and failure.

And here’s where the pretention comes in.  I’ve been pondering how there are two types of me when it comes to running.

Ready for the pretention?  Because here it comes.

I’m either the road runner (beep-beep!) or I’m the coyote.

And not the real world animals.  I’m talking the Looney Tunes characters.

The fact is I have been known on rare occasions to be a seemingly mindless running machine, a driven, focused, running, always running, dude… to the point that laws of physics do not apply.

e.g. If there’s a mental wall, I can paint a hole and run right through it.

 But far more often I’m Wile E. Coyote, self-proclaimed and self-printed business card emblazoned “super genius.”  I have plans and notions; I’m an ideas man!  I seemingly have an unlimited amount of imagination and access to ACME products to make my vision a reality.  But I also tend to have my plans and ideas and notions and concepts go horribly, horribly, painfully awry.

e.g. 2: The Secret of the Ooze: If there’s a catapult that will fling a rock on me, it’ll flip itself backwards and the shooter will be hoisted by his or her own petard… or in this case trebuchet.

Sure, sure.  I can bounce back… albeit of late the plummeting to the ground and the mushroom cloud as I SPLAT has been requiring a bit more recovery than a simple editorial wipe to the next scene.

In my younger days, I could shake off my body contorted into an accordion thanks to a fall from the sky fairly quickly.  But time and cumulative impacts have slowed my recoveries and it’s taking longer and longer to pick myself up from the dusty desert floor and make that phone call to ACME to order supplies for my next big “super genius” idea.

And yet I’m still trying.  Some comedian or communication studies scholar or maybe it was a pundit discussed the inherent optimism of Wile E.  He has an obsession with capturing and eating the Road Runner no matter the costs, no matter what toll it takes, no matter the difficulties encountered.  Consider this: Surely there must be something in the ACME catalog Wile E could order to eat.  They sell rockets and explosives and signs and wings and anvils, so many anvils.  They must have food.  There’s definitely bird seed in there as Wile E. keeps pouring an ACME carton to tempt the road runner to stop and dine.  And not only to stop and dine, but to tempt the bird to stop on a giant “X” painted on the road, the target for the ACME contraption that could finally THIS TIME capture the speedy bird.

Wile E. Coyote is Don Quixote, dreaming the impossible dream.

And so while failure has of late become more a norm than an exception, I’m trying to tell myself, “Beep beep, THAT!”  (Editor’s Note: The “beeps” here are of the “expletive deleted” variety and not RR speak).

If Wile E. ever did catch that road runner, ever did dine out on its carcass, where would he be?  He’d discover perhaps that road runner tastes just like chicken, that “victory” in this regard may be a disappointment, especially given the time and effort it took to achieve the goal.  Maybe it’s better to always just miss the reality of the situation and instead dream of what it would be like, that the possibility is better than the reality.

Maybe then instead of running as a destination and a goal to be checked off, I’ve forgotten that it was never really about the end, it’s always about the journey.  And that instead of seeking a finality or a sense that, “yeah, that was a great run today” only to be disappointed in the run being, well, a painful failure, maybe I need to re-trench and re-think as I did when I started out as a “new runner.”  Namely I need to get back to the notion of, “that was a tough day out there.  But that just means it was a great run to build upon for the next.”

This is a pretentious, rambling, sorry excuse for a blog post.  But maybe it’s a great one to build upon for the future.

In the meantime… that’s all folks.