Friday, April 5, 2013


Listening to an old mix of songs. Every one of them is a surprise but familiar too. An ancient Doobie Brothers tune just followed Death Cab for Cutie and before that were the Beastie Boys, Jack Johnson, and My Morning Jacket.

The hits just keep on coming.

A while ago, I was thinking about taking moonshots in my life and came up with the notion that I should start running ultras. But as I've gotten back to running, I struggle with five miles let alone fifty. That will change, but it's daunting. Tomorrow I have a group run of just over seven miles with hills. I'm worried about it. I'd be fine running by myself, but I'll be with friends and slowing them down worries the crap out of me.

Here's the thing though: if the situation was reversed, if someone with us wasn't feeling fast, I would be the first to run slowly with them or let them know they were fine running their own pace. I loved running with Karen in last year's Goat and with Jess in that cancer run. And I got dropped in the half marathon which was fine by me.

So I don't have to worry. I just need to go run. My friends will still be my friends even if I go slowly.

The other thing to keep in mind is that I don't have to make a big deal out of any of this. My friends know I've been away from running, that I've put on some pounds, that I'm having trouble with speed, stamina, and breathing. I don't have to make excuses. I can say, "I might not be fast. Please go ahead. I'll meet you at the coffee shop." Simple as that. If I start making excuses or a big deal about myself, then I'm not being true to who I am or to my friends. That's acting like something instead of being who I am.

Take this morning's run with Ben. He can go fast and long. He doesn't have to think about being an ultra-runner, he is one. Still, our run this morning was lovely. He ran to my house, ran with me, then ran home. I'm certain he had a good time, that he wasn't thinking, "I wish I hadn't run with this fat ass," and that he would do it again. We're not going to be daily training partners, but neither of us needs that. We're just friends and what more could we want than to be together to cover a few miles?

Back to that mixed play-list I've got going. It's playing a song I first heard in high school and that I've listened to a couple hundred times since. It feels good to listen, remembering who I have been, considering who I want to be, and knowing (at least a little) who I am right now. It feels so good that I'm sitting here smiling as I write and write and write on.