Thoughts on more than 40 years of running
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
I love to run.
I started when I was twelve. I was awful. I went out for the cross country team because I was two small to play football. I was six foot, 2in. tall and struggled to keep my weight above 120 pounds.
More than 40 years later, I am still awful. I have grown an inch, but struggle to keep my weight under a “svelte” 230 pounds. I may have graduated from the end of the pack with the Hamburg High School Cross Country Team to the middle of the pack in races today, but the winners still have long since recovered by the time I cross the finish line. I attribute the change in position more to a broadening of the sports appeal than any improvement on my part.
I consider myself a competitive person, but that is not the reason I run. I am addicted to the great feeling I experience every time I complete a training run. It is wonderful. The pain subsides, only to return when I launch the next workout.
There is no two ways about it, running is hard work. I think it is fair to say that I do not have the body type or muscle fiber that gifted – read winning – runners are born with. I do love to eat, and until recently my daily runs allowed me to indulge to my heart’s content at the dinner table without a thought of challenging the magic 230 number on the scales.
At this point in my life, I do not run to set personal records – I am simply content with the fact that I can still slip on a pair of sneakers and run. Most people I know have long since given up on the sport. Some have eased into less stressful aerobic pursuits; most have eased into the easy chair. If I vigorously pursued the latter, I would have to work to maintain a “svelte” 275.
My running is a selfish thing. It provides the challenge that allows me to feel good about myself. It is difficult to do well in my life’s pursuits if I don't feel good about myself.
I am addicted to the relaxation it affords me. After a stressful day, I can take a four mile run and leave my worries behind. It generally works like this. During the first mile, I fight my body’s rebellion to my rising pulse rate and re-fight the day’s battles. By the second mile, I complete my mental skull crushing of my bigger adversaries. By the third mile, I settle into my pace and the fourth mile is pure relaxation.
Hanging up my running shoes leaves me ready to face my real life as a father and husband unburdened with the day to day frustrations and problems my working life imposes on me. Mind you, running does not leave me any more fit to assume the responsibilities of a father and husband; it simply provides me with proper frame of mind.
It may be selfish, but it works for me.
posted by The Pointed Pundit at 5:51 PM