Running Thoughts #27 Volume 4 -Thoughts on the Road to Boston
I have always looked at the pictures of polar bears (the winter swimmers not the polar animals) with the thought that they were crazy, as well as with a little envy. I wondered, given the choice, whether I would ever try it.
This past Sunday was almost my chance. A friend invited me to join him for a race by the boardwalk in Asbury Park. I checked out the website and saw that after the race there would be an optional polar bear swim. Immediately I started going through an internal debate. On the one hand, I've always been curious to try this. On the other hand, it is freezing and only a nut or a real polar bear would enter the water in that kind of weather. On the one hand ice baths are used to help sore muscles recover. On the other hand, said baths are taken in the comfort of your home where you can warm up immediately after you are finished. On and on it went. In the end, I'll never know what I would have chosen as, for various reasons, I didn't go to the race.
Since then, I have wondering about the attraction of artificially created adventures of this kind. Why is it that things like this never took place before the 20th century? Were people just too busy? Too conservative? More content with the ordinary than we are? Of course, one could ask the same thing about marathons, which, myth aside, are also a recent invention. Some of us, and I count myself among them, seem hardwired to avoid the humdrum of everyday life, seeking something more exciting. This can be a blessing as well as a curse; a blessing in that it spurs me on to try to accomplish new things, a curse in that much of life is just ordinary. While it is easy to get caught up in a book about war, or Shackleton's trip to the South Pole, Judaism, like many religions, demands that we sanctify the mundane.
There are many places I would like to go, things I would like to see. No matter where I go the journey begins inside of me.
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