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On Running: Searching for the Important Moments

On Running
Searching for the Important Moments

Forty-seven is a number just like any other, isn't it? And yet, that's what I became this week - forty-seven.
Forty-seven years should feel like a long time, but it doesn't. I've lived more than 17,000 days and I hardly remember any of them. What I do remember are brief moments, like short video clips stored away in my mind.
I remember being in the back yard with my friends. Having forgotten the ball, I was the one chosen to run across the neighborhood to get it. I could return to the group faster than the others.
I remember the first race I ever won, crossing the finish line as I strained to keep the lead. I was pretty full of myself on the bus ride back to school. I recall my last victory as well, but the feeling was much different then, as I said a brief prayer, giving thanks for one more.
There has only been one race that I couldn't finish, and I remember how hopeless I felt as I sat on the side of the course-watching runners pass. There have been countless other unfulfilled goals. I had focused on one race for months, only to fall short out on the course. I crossed the finish line and stepped to the side. Standing there, I looked up towards the dark sky, letting rain fall on my face, as if it could somehow wash the disappointment away.
For every moment of competition, there have been thousands of others spent in preparation. I've run interval workouts alone late at night, running on instinct because my watch was useless. There was one long run when I felt like I was floating along the road. For a brief time, it was as if I could run as fast and as far as I wanted.
There have been quiet moments too. I've heard what snow sounds like when it falls on a still lake. I know where to find trout waiting in a lazy stream. And, I can find a moment of peace in a day filled with anxiety.
As I sit here now, it's like all those moments have led to this one, as I try to put good words on paper. And, what I've discovered is that each one became a part of me, like pieces of a puzzle making me who I was suppose to be.
If you think about it, there's hope in that revelation, because it gives meaning to what we experience. No matter how happy or sad, fulfilling or regretful, each moment turned to memory has a purpose.
Life is less about the longer measurements of time and more about the shorter ones. Years fade away and days are easily forgotten, but a moment can stay with you forever.
So, I won't think too much about being forty-seven. Instead, I'll keep searching for important moments, and I'll keep sharing them with you, as I run on towards forty-eight.

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at

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