Only other runners can understand the sickness.
The sickness that we get when we hear about races, either events we research online, find on Pinterest or hear from other people, and instantly want to register for them all, regardless of cost and/or travel. The sickness we suffer from when planning our vacations and other obligations around our training and races: “We can’t go out of town that weekend, that’s the same weekend as ___(insert race name here)_____” The sickness when we will take on a distance race greater than what we have run in weeks, just because the race director announces a long sleeve tee, great post party, 2 free beers or even better, an awesome medal! The sickness that invades our minds and bodies when we get nervous days before toeing the line at a race, in the hopes of having a personal best. The sickness that overcomes us when we decide that waking up at 3:30am to run 12 miles for a challenge , wearing 12 layers of dirty clothes, all while eating Girl Scout cookies and drinking beet juice (ew!) every mile sounds like a twistedly good time. The sickness that attacks our sense of reason when we justify buying new running clothes, just because they are on sale AND super cute, over fixing broken appliances. The sickness that makes setting an alarm, even for a time earlier than Monday thru Friday, for a Saturday morning run some how more reasonable. The sickness that allows us to soundly forget our manners (snot rocketing, burping and god forbid, farting) and becoming one with nature (knowing the best places to duck behind a shrub). The sickness that forces us to justify running around a 1/4 mile oval at a pace that makes wonder if our legs will just give out. The sickness that makes us burst into tears from laughing so hard at phrases, like fartlek, running of the balls, and plica. The sickness that forces us to change clothes in a parking lot, not caring who sees us in various stages of undress, to bring a whole extra bag full of dry clothes, and to wash the salt off our faces in a bagel shop bathroom. The sickness that makes us think running through a freezing cold stream, not once, but twice, is the highlight of our weekend. The sickness that makes us search our closets for just the right costume that we can wear to the next great race, all the while still making sure that we can actually run in it. The sickness that makes us plan routes that end at establishments that allow us to instantly eat bacon and bagels or drink hoppy brews. The sickness that affects our normal thinking process to point we cannot do simple math, know our rights from our lefts, or read a map. To the other side, this same sickness will cause us to rationalize signing up for another marathon while still running the first one, taking on a run with obstacles just to mix up our training, or running a half marathon with a few days warning because a bib passed down to us.
The remedy: The sickness that can only be cured by spending time, running beside some of the best people you know, sharing the road, stories, laughs, and miles with them, cheering each other on, offering encouragement along the way, and enjoying the sport that we love, together. If this is what the sickness feels like, then I hope to be sick for as long as I can.