Thursday, October 13, 2011

It’s A Shame About Ray

I’ve decided I’m crazy enough to run another marathon.[1] Because of the fact that I scared my last running partner off, I decided to join up with a training group. Having someone to run with on the long runs, especially when you start hitting 10+ miles, makes them that much more enjoyable. This past Saturday was my second run with the group.

Before we started, the group leader informed us that one of the members of our group had passed that week. She apparently had a stroke a few hours after her run on Saturday and passed a few days later.

Since then, that song by the Lemonheads has been stuck in my head. I’m not exactly sure what the song is about, but my interpretation has always been about someone in your peripheral life who passes on. It’s an odd feeling because you don’t feel great remorse, but you’re still stunned that someone you came into contact with passed on. This runner was someone who I ran with that Saturday and unfortunately can’t remember. It’s bracing to think that it can all go that quick.

That is, yet again, the ultimate lesson that life teaches us – it’s fleeting. It can go at any moment, and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us.

I managed to find her obituary. She was in her 50’s, had run several marathons, was married for 26 years, and spent 9 years with her husband sailing around the world.

50 is way too young for anyone to pass on. But if you had to figure out how to make the best out of that short period of time, I’d say she did it.

And that should be the goal for all of us – make the most of the short time we have on this planet. Because it really can that quick.

[1] I promise this isn’t another running post.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Are You Running From?

FinishingI saw a blog post a long while ago with a question that was asked of runners on Twitter: “What are you running from?” And it got me to thinking what I’m running from.

Of course, I spent a lot of time thinking about this while running. And that’s one of my favorite things about running – it gives me time to just collect my thoughts. And I find that being out by myself with nothing else to do but think with the endorphins flowing is a great time to figure out life’s problems. There has been many a time when something has come up where I’ve said, “I need a run.” This is of course very different than in the past where I’d frequently say, “I need a drink.”

Since I became a runner, many things in my life have changed. I find that I’m drinking less. I’m paying more attention to what I’m eating. And unlike attempts in the past, it’s not that I’m just trying to eat less to be healthy, it’s that I’m focused on what the food I’m putting into my body is going to do to my ability to run.

I’m less stressed. As I mentioned before, there’s something special about being able to work out issues while running. And the feeling high after a good run, especially a long one, is second to none. I often joke to Karin that if she wants me to agree to something she should ask me once I get home from a run; I’m so happy I’ll say yes to just about anything.

Over the last 20 months, I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought possible. I never thought I’d be able to actually commit to running four times a week. I never thought I’d enjoy it. I never thought I’d miss it when I can’t get in my runs. I never thought I’d finish a half marathon. I never thought I’d finish a half marathon in under 2 hours. I never thought I’d finish a marathon. I never thought I’d start training for a second marathon. I’ve done things I never thought I’d be able to do.

I like how I look now. I’d reached the point of not wanting to take off my shirt and dreading having to buy an even bigger pair of jeans. I loved having to take my sport coats and suits in for tailoring. I love being able to buy “Medium” shirts. I love buying clothes that show off my body. Although updating the wardrobe has been expensive, I’m perfectly OK with it.

So what am I running from?

Well, put frankly – I’m running from feeling like shit.