Sunday, May 15, 2011

Becoming a Superhero

Am I a superhero? Of course not! I’m nothing at all like a superhero. I’m not particularly strong. I can’t see through walls. I can’t morph into an animal. I can’t fly and I’m definitely not the bravest guy you’ll ever meet. I’m certainly not a superhero.

I’m not Superman or the Green Lantern, but I do find a definite appeal in doing things others can’t or simply don’t want to try. Like most people out there (not everyone), I do want to be noticed. If I were happy blending into the woodwork I probably wouldn’t have dedicated years to making hundreds of You Tube video blogs and writing hundreds of posts on blogs now defunct and still in existence. I’m not a superhero, but I do enjoy some amount of attention. That’s a natural thing!

Over the years I’ve done a lot of things to “get noticed.” Growing up I was definitely the class clown. In university I got into acting and had parts in several plays and made “interesting” music as a drummer in several indie bands. I then went on to be a professional dinner theatre, improv comedy performer and bar band drummer.

Now I am a teacher and I suppose that to is a way to perform. Everyday I get on a small stage for a captive audience and it is very important that I both educate and entertain them!

I suppose in a small way though, part of me does romanticize about the “superhero” aspect of existence. In a small, yet rather realistic way, I have been trying to achieve my own personal “superhero” status. In early 2008, when I first moved to Japan from Canada I promised myself I would run a full marathon that same year. I had never run a race distance over 10k, but vowed to do it. I suppose it was something to check off on my “things to do in life” list (My list is long and varied. Some other goals involve going to the North Pole and spending a summer drinking and camping my way around the countryside of Ireland!)!

I ran my first full marathon that Fall (2008). It was a slow time, but I did it! That was my goal. I realized I had completed something most people would never try to do. It felt good. I ran more races over the next few years and consistently made much better times with everyone.

Now I find myself in the position of running a 60k run to raise money for a charity (Running to Help Japan). I will also run the Osaka Marathon and maybe the Kobe Marathon (if I get into that race) this autumn. This particular goal feels good in many ways. Some reasons are selfless and some are selfish!

I realize that by running practically a marathon and a half is something most people will never do. Many marathoners would never do this. I also realize that there are many others who have run MUCH further distances. In the world of athletics, what I am doing is nothing outstanding. In the world of runners, I am no superhero. I’m just a guy running 60k.

In my little world though, amongst my family, friends and coworkers, it is special though. I suppose within my community of You Tube viewers and blog readers it is special. It is special because those who know me well; know that I am not really an athlete. I’m a regular guy, realizing a little later in life that I have become an athlete (sort of). I’ve come to realize a new potential.

I can also do something I have never done before; I can raise a lot of money for a good cause. At the time of writing this post, I have raised almost $2700 for Save the Children Japan and their relief efforts in the areas of Japan hit hardest by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. I am happy that this amount of money will make a real difference in the lives of Japanese children, but also have to admit that it makes me feel good about myself that I can do this for others. I suppose I am a little selfish in that regard.

This whole running thing has also captured my imagination in other ways. I am curious to see what I can make my body do. I know I have some intense stubbornness and mental fortitude, but once I lay down the base of physical training, I think I will be able to do some pretty amazing things. Again, not necessarily amazing compared to great athletes, but for me. I run for me.
I suppose now, I run for my son as well. He is only 10 months old, but I do run for him in many ways. I want to be more fit. When he starts running and playing outside I want to be able to keep up with him. I want to be healthier and fit to live a long and energetic life as his father. Also, I want him, when he is a little older to come to my races and look up to me. I want my little boy to see me as a “superhero” I suppose.

I have dreams in my own little running life. Next year I plan to run my first 100k race. I hope to someday run the Marathon Des Sables in Morocco (running in the Sahara Desert just seems so badassed!). I would love to run a big 100-mile race in America like the Western States 100. I would love to hike the Appalachian Trail and the Trans Canada Trail.

I have many dreams.

I am not a superhero.

In a small way I would like to be one though.

You can Follow me on Twitter: @jlandkev


Chad Vieth said...

I dunno running a 60k UM, makes you a hero in ways Comics couldn't do justice. Giv'er all you got, and win big. Good Luck.

Durkee in Korea said...

Daaaamn. 100k... Dude, that is badass. Sadly, I just discovered your blog... Well, I just started reading it. I think I knew it existed. Good stuff. I'm on board now.

Atley said...

dude, you totally missed the beta breakers race in San Fransico. and all the... excitment? that comes with it!