Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
The columnist would have saved an immense amount of effort had he just swallowed some pride and called a running buddy to show him how to use the device. The columnist is not wrong to think that runners notice him. They probably do. But the runners I know aren't watching for the purpose of belittling, embarrassing, or shaming another. They look because they care and because they want to see an encouraging face.
Unlike the columnist, I have learned to risk. When registering for my first ten-mile race, I was handed a timing chip and told that if I lost the thing I'd have to pay a huge-to-me sum to replace it (about $100 as I recall). Given the worst case alternative of paying for a replacement, the next worst case of an incorrect attachment not accurately recording my running time, or experiencing a momentary bit of embarrassment by asking another runner to show the proper way to use the thing, I swallowed my pride, held out my foot and allowed a complete stranger to invade my personal space and attach the thing. Worry-free I ran that 10-miler according to plan, smiling and waving at other runners who always returned the greeting. I was so green I didn't even know enough to wait for the awards ceremony; instead I hurried home to fix lunch for friends. And a couple weeks later I learned by e-mail that I had taken second place in my age group. Swallowing my pride was worth the engraved duffle bag I won as a prize.
As an asthmatic, I have often noticed others watch me struggle to breathe and ask me if I am okay. Even if I can't speak, I still nod and eek out a smile, grateful that they care. Their compassion keeps me running, even when I don't feel like it. Other runners' praise and comaradarie provides the gumption to push harder and faster than I'd have dared. Though I have no intention of ruining their run by going out too hard and causing an asthmatic attack, it is nonetheless comforting to know that if I do inadvertently push too hard someone will care enough to help.
One runner I know often leads the pack. Otentimes he even wins. Almost always he turns around and runs the race in reverse until he sees the last straggler cross the finish line.
And I fear the self-centered, lone-ranger columnist has unnecessarily deprived himself of the energy he could gain from the energy showered on by other runners.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
This morning's goal was a five mile run in preparation for a planned five miler in July. But my stomach was queasy and my body tired.
"Should I do five today or settle for my usual three?" I thought as I lumbered off.
A similar mindset of "either-or" thinking had nearly crippled Tuesday's thinking process. I had tied my running shoes, gulped some water, but then opened the front door to a thunder storm. I will run in rain or snow, but not a lightening storm. I sat down in my easy chair and tried to settle into a book on torts, preparing for next term's classes. But the previous day had not met my standards for success. Now frustrated energy blocked concentration. Spaghettied thoughts refused to untangle.
"How I needed today's run," I thought.
And then I remembered my jump rope. The decision to be made was not "to run or not to run". Instead the decision to be made was how to reign in wasted energy so effectiveness could return. So I jumped rope inside, curtailed the fidgets, then quietly sat down to concentrated study.
The lesson applied to this morning's run as well. The question needn't be limited to a choice between three miles and five. A better question was how to make today's run an effective means toward that upcoming five mile race goal--another way, a third choice.
The Third Way Cafe' in Harrisonburg is so named for three reasons:
- We hope it sounds inviting to anyone exploring things that are different
- Many times we think there are only two choices or options when actually there is a third or alternate way between two choices
- It reflects the fact that Mennonites and Anabaptists are somewhere between Catholic and Protestant on many theology issues--a third way.