Dave Griffin On Running: Life's Reflections
Dave Griffin On Running
He had learned a lot in his 50 years, and he was thinking about it as he started to run on the quiet trail. Most importantly, he learned that age was just a number. He learned that days come one at a time and that's the way he was going to live them.
It finally looked like wintertime; leaves that were on the trees when he was there just weeks ago now crunched under his feet. His stiff body complained with the early strides, but he didn't listen. He knew it would start cooperating soon.
A couple years ago, he wouldn't have had time to come out to the trail and run on a Saturday morning. There was always something to be done and he prided himself on getting things accomplished.
He didn't run at all back then. In fact, he would chuckle when he passed runners as he drove along the road. He thought they were wasting time, and couldn't understand why anyone would do something that looked so uncomfortable.
He did want his health to be better. The doctors had warned him about his weight and his stress. He didn't listen. All he wanted was to move up the corporate ladder and to enjoy desert at the restaurants he frequented.
His legs felt better now, and his breathing had settled down. He didn't really understand how he could feel so crummy in the beginning of a run and so great later on. That seemed backwards to him. He should feel more tired the longer he ran, but that's not how it felt anymore.
When he first started jogging after the heart attack, every step had been painful. He wondered how something that felt so bad could be good for him. It had taken months before he actually enjoyed it, but he never once thought about stopping.
His perspective had changed since the day he thought his life was over. Before, he wanted to listen to his doctor, but he really wanted cheesecake at his favorite restaurant. Now, he wants the cheesecake, but he really wants to live.
He ran around a bend in the trail and saw a hill off in the distance. It took more than six months before he could run up it without walking. He remembered the first day he had made it to the crest and laughed as he thought about the celebration. He can't remember ever being more proud of himself.
He stopped at the top this day for a different reason. He wanted to look around and see how the landscape had changed since the last time he was there. There were thousands of beautiful acres in his sight. A wide stream swirled through the valley and he could see a small group of deer slowing moving toward their morning drink.
He smiled as a funny thought came to mind. In a way, he wished he had had the heart attack many years ago. It was only afterwards that he had experienced moments like this.
As he finished his run, he promised himself that he would never again forget the difference between what he wants and what he really wants. And, he promised he would take one day at a time, and live them all just like this one.
Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.