Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Why I Run . . .
I exchanged e-mails with my dear friend Tom Kelly a week or so ago.
Tom's note made a single point . . . that he is proud of me for my post surgery success and for my undertakings - like running.
I take Tom's praise for what it is (he's a very genuine person when he's off stage and not "on") but I had to type Tom back and acknowledge that my motivations for running might not be as admirable as the credit his note gave me.
While I am also very proud of myself and while I feel good about the praise I receive, I run for a very simple reason . . . aspiration.
Let me clarify - when teens rebel, they might wear all black or listen to 80s punk (regardless of what decade they start the crazy hormone game in). When a woman wants babies she might start knitting and "nesting." When a kid wants to be accepted he might kick or swear like the other kids do. Aspiration.
In my own experience/background . . . when young adults arrive at a snooty, liberal, private college in New England where everyone seems "rich" and they are not, they might want to start wearing tweed jackets, penny loafers and oxford shirts. When he gets a job working for IBM he might want to buy a house in Connecticut and drive a Volvo. Aspiration.
When a guy has gastric bypass surgery he might, eventually, start running. Not because it is a true calling from God. Not just because he's grown tired of exercise DVDs in the basement and not only because he wants to get those toned calves and ankles he had as a high schooler back. Nope. This fat man runs because that is what "fit" people do. Aspiration.
Let's level set, I know that running does not ensure a long life. You read all the time about people who are very fit and who run living short lives almost in spite of their commitment to their health (one of my best friends from college's wife's father died through this cruel twist of fate when she was way too young to lose a parent, for instance).
More importantly (and less morbidly), I'm not sure that I will ever get down to 140 tight and toned pounds with a vocabulary that includes PR (it stands for "personal record" for those that don't thumb through Runner's World magazine) and my "stride style" and I don't anticipate I'll ever be seen in public in those shorty-shorts with the fly away legs and a sleeveless tee with Band Aids over my nipples but I DO anticipate . . . no I EXPECT that if I can run and dedicate myself to a lifestyle that includes running and feeling well enough to run that I will live a better life . . . no matter how long God gives me.
I mean look - I gave up on a lot of stuff in life (the Volvo and the house in Connecticut at least (the tweed blazers, penny loafers and oxfords persist, for better or for worse (smile)) but I will never stop aspiring to have a full, blessed, balanced and wonderful life. I'll run towards that goal every chance I get.