Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Company You Keep

I remember a few years ago, when I was running a lot and getting more serious about it and setting PR's,  I was engulfed in the sport.  I'm not really one to obsess about things, generally I'm laid back and take everything in stride, but I was getting obsessed with running.  When a recent issue of "Running Times" would come in the mail I would drop everything and read it cover to cover.  I would spend hours on  reading message board threads both informative and inane.  I would listen with awe as some of my local running heros, men and women who had been running as long or even longer than I had been alive, as they would tell of races past and wisdom earned. I look back on those days now and I have to say that I'm grateful that I did become obsessed.  I can't quite go to the length of saying that running changed my life (for our change comes from a myriad of sources and our ability to recognize and then use those sources) but running drastically improved it.

Running taught me the value of self discipline and the importance of commitment.  I learned that consistency makes you stronger, that effort is itself a great reward.  I discovered the joy and strange paradox of being completely depleted from a hot, August 10 mile run and yet completely filled with a feeling of life's abundance.  And while I had to learn these things on my own, I couldn't have learned them at all without those heros of mine, whom I looked up to, who showed me the way.

And it continues to this day.  I have new running heros to look up to now.  Some faster than me, some slower (it's never been about faster/slower anyway).   I can find inspiration in every runner I see, for they all have a story worthy of their effort.  They all have a reason.

We runners share a common bond, and that is to continue.  To continue to move forward, as fast and as far as we can.  And in the interims, we can reflect, we can dream, we can appreciate.  And as I sit here on this windy Sunday night, I see an unread "Running Times" on my coffee table, to my left I have work that needs to be done but I'm happier right now to think about those who have taught and inspired me.

Health is the greatest gift,
Contentment the greatest wealth,
Faithfulness the best relationship.

                                                                                    -The Buddha

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