In 2003 I was on the precipice of graduating from high school on Long Island, staring down the barrel of moving away to college, away from literally everything I had known for the first 17 years and 8ish months of my life. My family, my friends, my girlfriend… I would be essentially on my own in ways I have never been. It was a very anxious time, as much as it was exciting. The best way I knew how to cope with the tempest of feelings swirling around inside of me was to write it down. And so I started my first blog. I can’t even remember what site I used, but I quickly switched to Livejournal. An online journal where i had the good fortune of meeting some of the most amazing, kindest, best human beings on the planet, a few whom I still count as among the very best friends I have ever had.
On that humble little Livejournal, I sporadically and loquaciously expounded on the multitude of emotions I felt on a daily basis, some happy, many somewhere closer to maudlin. I remember one of my most popular tags for entries was “navel gazing” because that’s what it felt like I did most of the time. That’s what I felt compelled to do most of the time. This blog, this blog was at first supposedly different in that all I talked about was running. But I am far from a one dimensional human being and running, while very important to me, is still just one small aspect of Mark Manz, person. I am a runner, sure, an ultrahobbyjogger as my blog header says. But I am also a teacher, a son, a brother, a cruciverbalist, a trivia buff, a person who struggles with something that feels like depression and a sense of anxiety and feelings that range the gamut from love to abandonment and everything in between. And that is more me. This being my space on this here interwebz, and my desire to write having been rekindled thanks to a confluence of events both physical and emotional, I have felt compelled to branch out beyond writing about running.
And that is what this page is for: my navel gazing. At times, in a previous incarnation of this blog, some of my navel gazing would leak into my weekly recaps or race reports. Creating this, I feel I can keep the running to running and the rest of me to this. Please know, absolutely positively, this space is not for you, dear reader. Sorry. I DO care about you (most likely because you are my mom, or any of a handful of people who, for some inexplicable reason, spend a modicum of free time perusing this blog’s contents) but I need this space for me. You are more than welcome to read, laugh, cry, judge, mock, empathize, whatever but you are merely along for the ride here. Enjoy.