by Emily Joy Ford
Since I began Ultrarunning, I must hear the word “crazy” at least a dozen times each week. It’s the reflexive word many emit upon finding out just how far and often I run – though I am fully aware the 40-60 miles I log each week are fraction of what many ultrarunners do…Perspective on that is relative, right?
I bet you’ve been on the receiving end of statements like these as well:
- “That’s crazy!”
- “Girl! You’re crazy!”
- “Really?! So crazy…”
I realize that usually the word is expressed in a positive, “holy wow” kind of tone, but I’ve gotta say, I’m getting tired of being called crazy.
I was raised in a family of English majors, lovers of language that fill downtime with Scrabble, crosswords, reading, and writing. From them I learned to communicate clearly, taking care to choose the best, most appropriate words. A few words were even banned from conversation simply because there was almost always a stronger, more compelling option available.
Today, I’m banning the word “crazy” from my ultrarunning conversation. Its multiple meanings and intonations – combined with all too ubiquitous use – make it a weak word choice indeed. There’s almost always a better option available:
- mind blowing
Next time the word “crazy” creeps into a conversation about your running, try replacing it (or suggesting a replacement) with one of these, and see how a simple edit can become an uplifting improvement:
- “That’s amazing!”
- “Girl! You’re intense!”
- “Really?! So mind blowing…”
What words will you use?
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