Running? The starting is the hardest part.

That’s me on the right, stumbling to the finish of my first race (a 4 miler) a couple of years ago.












I’m getting ready to go run again.

It’s nearly 9 p.m., the kids are in bed, the wife is away at a conference.  Backpacks are not by the door with completed homework inside, lunches are not made, and clothes have not been laid out.

It doesn’t matter.  I’ve got to go run.  I really don’t want to, but it’s out of my hands.

It’s not that I’m some big-time runner.  On the contrary, I’m a just big guy who is a small-time runner.  I run (some would take issue with that word) small distances — 5ks — and that’s about it.  I started from scratch 2 years ago, never having run further than the length of a basketball court.  I was scared to death to even try, and now, I’m still horrified each time I go out.  It’s always the same thought:  Can I do this?  Will I have to stop and walk?  Will I fail??

Why do I put myself through this torture?  I’m not totally sure, but I think some part of it is because I started.  I got myself over that hump.  You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating:  The starting is the hardest part.  (Tom Petty would disagree, but what does he know?)  The hardest steps in a run are the ones out the front door, I read online the other day.  It’s true.

There are several slam-dunk, hanging-curveball analogies in all of this, I know, but I’m going to resist that temptation.

The other possible reason is that I’ve worked so hard at changing myself, I’m terrified of going back.  Oh, the pre-running-and-exercise me was a good-enough guy.  Occasionally funny.  Loved his wife and kids every bit as much.  But he lacked a vital component of joy that only comes from pushing yourself to do things you never, ever believed yourself capable of.  He always took the safe route.

It’s now 9:09, and I could choose to bag the whole thing, load the dishwasher, and go climb into bed and watch “The Office” reruns (the old ones with Steve Carell).  But I ain’t gonna.

Here I go.



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