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David Freeze: Gotta Run

What if this morning’s run was my last?

Has a strange sound, doesn’t it? Once in a while, I wonder about the possibility. Would I be happy with what running has done for me and what little bit I ha ve done for running? Would the setting for this last run resemble what I would prefer? Or was it only memorable because it was my last? Someday, I will run my last mile. Hopefully not anytime soon, but will I be ready for the day?

Here are just a few things that running has done for me. There has been a certain level of physical health for sure. I have often written about this one. Not as often about the other things. Running generates self-confidence, fostering a belief that just about anything is possible. Running generates clear thinking and problem solving. Those big problems that seemed overwhelming got a lot smaller while on the run or shortly afterwards. Stress didn’t matter nearly as much. Obstacles weren’t nearly so formidable. The sense of peace and calm as I faced the day after a good run was one of running’s best daily rewards.

The void left after any day without a run or at least some similar fix of exercise made me miss it tremendously. So, when I have run that last time, can I mentally handle it? Where will all those benefits listed above come from?

What about the competition? Not so much the competition that came from racing well over 800 events from 5K to marathons. Sure, nothing was much better at the time than beating your peers in an all-out physical challenge. But more importantly, success at all those competitions taught me to persevere in life as well. Not much along the way seemed overwhelming if I really wanted it. Simple things, like getting another wagonload of hay in the barn after dark. Going that extra mile meant much more than just adding to the long run.

What about the sense of community? How would I be able to relate to all those people who enter my life if I can’t at least mention my latest running? How can I help all those great charities? What else will provide that unending basis for how I can raise the bar? What will fuel my ongoing sense of wonder.

How would that last run look, if I had the choice? My favorite runs of all time left memories of snow, Christmas lights, falling stars, encounters with animals and prayers along the way. Just a few fireflies too, if possible. Can I get an amazing sunrise and sunset too? Some mixture of all of these will work just fine. Since life seems a mixture of hills and flat terrain, I’ll need some of both.

But I most likely won’t get to make my choice of the last official run. Just in case I don’t, I am going to take advantage of every run until then. And the more I think about it, I don’t want to know when the last run is coming. In the meantime, I want way more of all the things mentioned above. In fact, after almost 80,000 miles of running, I still think that best run of all time is yet to come.

So, now that I have opened my heart on this subject, another Beginning Runners Class is right around the corner. The winter version starts on Monday, January 9th, at First Methodist Church in Salisbury. All the information is at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org Maybe you have been thinking about this leap of faith for a while and just might be ready to go for it. I hope so, because your own best run is just around the corner!

 

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