Dave Griffin On Running: A Sign of Honor

Dave Griffin On Running
A Sign of Honor

His wife had sent him for a few things at the grocery store and he drove there trying to remember the brands she wanted. After he parked the car, he gulped down his last few ounces of Gatorade wishing he had brought a second bottle along.
He noticed that the woman coming out of the store was watching curiously as he struggled to step up onto the curb. He smiled at her as she passed, owning the stiff ache from the morning run like a sign of honor.
Earlier, when the alarm had gone off at six, he resisted only briefly until he gained enough consciousness to realize he didn't have to go to work. He was out the door after downing a banana and some juice, leaving everyone else in the house still sleeping.
He had come to enjoy his Saturday morning runs more than any of the others. He felt a sense of satisfaction knowing he was accomplishing something when everyone else had yet to start their day.
He was going long this morning, twelve miles, and it would be the final long run before a half marathon two weeks away. It was still hard to believe he was going to do it, when just a year before he couldn't run to the end of his street without walking.
Early in the run, the miles passed easily, and he spent much of the time watching the sun climb through various stages of dawn. It was only in the last few miles that he began to feel challenged. On the long runs, there was always a point when he wondered whether or not he could make it back home. He always did.
As he rounded the last turn and ran towards his house, a neighbor ventured out for the newspaper, first cup of coffee in hand. The neighbor said something like "wish I had the time for such things", the irony apparently escaping him.
When he stopped running, the stiffness struck immediately, and he walked slowly up and down his driveway until he felt the steadiness return.
His wife had just made it to the breakfast table as he walked inside. She shook her head, still not understanding why he put himself through it all.
He didn't usually know how to explain it, but the words came easier this particular morning. "I've spent most of my life," he told her, "trying to avoid a challenge. I've always steered clear of anything outside my comfort zone, but I'm not going to do that anymore. Running has taught me that I'm capable of more than I thought I was."
She asked him if he was capable of going to the store for a few things. Then, she kissed him, smiled, and said something he hadn't heard very often - "I'm proud of you."
He searched the isles for the things she wanted, and even remembered all the brands. Then, he left the store grimacing as he stepped off the curb, carrying everything he needed, and then some.

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to both beginning and experienced distance runners. Contact Dave at dpgflyingfeet@aol.com or join the Dave Griffin On Running group at facebook.com