|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.