"The other day I felt like going for a run and ran 11.2 miles in 97 minutes."
"I'm not sure if I could run a half marathon...though I did run 13 miles once when I was lost. So I guess I could."
"I really love running this 1 mile loop around the Boardwalk...so I ran it 10 times. I had to stop because I was getting a little thirsty." (This run took place around 3pm in the brutal Orlando summer heat)
"I had a great 5-mile run. I wish we didn't have to go to the parks, I could have kept going for another hour."
Over the course of my six day family vacation, I got a bit of insight into my brother the athlete. And my emotions ran the gamut from annoyed, to impressed, to jealous (probably mostly jealous). This kid makes running look easy.
My brother's story is a LONG one, but let's just say he has not always been a running machine. Following some medical problems, he gained a lot of weight and was pretty inactive. Now that he has overcome those problems, he has turned himself into a certified gym rat (he is a personal trainer himself, he loves spinning -- he would be a big hit in the healthy blogger community!). And he has discovered that he loves running, often going out for 8-10 mile pleasure runs.
What was fascinating to me was the best part of my brother's vacation was running. We spent 6 days at a gorgeous resort in one of the most action-packed vacation destinations in the world, and his priority was running. He planned his meals, his sleeping, and other activities around getting in a great workout.
This astounded me.
On the one hand, I will admit I was annoyed. I wanted to have a blast in the parks, and I was getting a headache from all of my eye-rolling upon seeing my brother limp around the Magic Kingdom -- you're not enjoying this because you ran 10 miles today!
But a big part of me was impressed -- I would LOVE to be so excited about getting out for a run, and I would love for long distances and harsh conditions look so easy. While my brother has a bit to learn about fueling himself for runs (he doesn't carry any water with him, no matter the distance) and pacing himself (if he could, he would just run for miles every day), I know that he could easily conquer half marathons, full marathons...and probably ultras. Is this how Dean Karnazes got started?
This has got me thinking a lot about passion, obsession, and balance. I am definitely ready to make exercise and health a priority, but I hope I can remember to take time for fun and not miss out on great opportunities (and fun vacations) for the sake of my workouts. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish in the next few years, and I know I need to maintain some balance to make it all happen.
And maybe I'm struggling a little with identity. My brother and I have had an unspoken agreement: I'm the nerdy overachiever, he is the charming social butterfly. Now my brother is overachieving (and I'm still the same wallflower)...and somehow I feel a bit out of sorts. These are definitely unfamiliar waters.
But I'm trying to look on the bright side -- maybe there is some natural running ability in my family that I am ready to tap into! If there's a running gene, I'm ready to discover it.