I think the word vicarious has ecclesiastical origins, so it is fitting for a Sunday post. By good fortune I have found myself here in Sofia on the day of their marathon.
I went to have a look at the runners as they ran round the Palace of Culture. There was quite a long uphill stretch (a definite positive incline, but nothing excessive – says he, watching from the sidelines!) followed by a longer and steeper downhill stretch ( I can imagine the relief of the runners as they reached this bit!). The field was very spread out and judging from the faces of the runners this must have been the latter stages of the race. I didn’t know the course and I could not see any kilometre markers.
As you may have gathered by now, I am not doing a long run – or any run- today, but hopefully I will get back on track over the coming week. This is where the vicarious bit comes in. Seeing the runners in their various states of distress reminded me of my marathon running. My feelings were very mixed – a grateful relief at not having to run all those miles on what is quite a warm day, and a bit of envy of those who were pursuing their running dreams and goals.
I could empathise with the individual battles the runners were engaged in. The shuffling feet, aching backs, the need to walk a bit, the desire for it to be over, the pledge of never to do it again (which will most likely be broken when the memory of how it feels starts to fade!). I’m sure the empathising activated some muscle memories, which, with my wide interpretation of training, qualifies as a bit of a run. And, despite everything, the experience has reaffirmed my desire to run another marathon. Maybe Sofia next year, on the other side of the tape?
I don’t think I will sign up for next year’s Sofia marathon. The course is 4 laps of a 10km course – I think after two attempts at the long uphill drags, I could well lose the will to live. It is equivalent to running round Pitsford Water, which is probably more picturesque, but after 2 laps I’ve seen enough! Sorry Sofia. So, I’m still on the look-out for that next challenge…