Gotta Run: Time, precious time

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 2021

Have you ever thought about how time is rushing past us? Does it get faster as we get older, or are we just more aware? I think it’s the latter. One of the worst phrases I’ve ever heard is “I’m just killing time.” Why would you do that?

Since this is a running and fitness column, I’ve had some fast races, enough of them for four straight state champion recognitions. Those fastest times came when I was in my early 40s. I can only remember being that fast, and there is some wonderment still at how my body was able to do it. Most of my training runs now are not really training for anything except to keep in shape and think through what’s on my plate for the upcoming day.

With increased clarity, I know a lot about time. Not racing time so much, but what time really represents. Most of us like to think that we get wiser as we get older, but I think that I get slower as I get a little wiser. Is it my body reshuffling resources? That sounds logical.

So, before telling you what to do with your time, I will tell you what I plan to do with mine. I’ve long said that I love challenges and the quickest way to get my attention is to throw one at me. One example is the day that Ed Dupree, from his hospital bed at Novant, said to me, “Will you run across the state for me? It is one of the few regrets I have, never getting to do it.”

I couldn’t shake that request, knowing that I would take Ed’s challenge within minutes after his words were spoken. My first concern of course, was how to make the time for the road. By nightfall, I had a plan, knowing that I could move this or that and even swing by home on the route to meet one commitment.

The No. 1 common thread I hear in discussions with readers about my bike rides goes something like this, “I wish I could do something like that, but I don’t have the time.” There seem to be two options that have to be considered. Either use lack of time forever as an excuse and never chase your dream, making sure you can fuel yourself with regret going forward. Or set about scheduling just how you will do it. Not necessarily talking about a bike ride but realizing that one day most of us will have a chance to look back on our lives and recount something like this, “I didn’t get to do the things I wanted to. I was good at work and watching TV and keeping the yard mowed. Now it is too late to take time to do my thing.”

My favorite points when talking with a personal training client are twofold. No one will be impressed when your time runs out and your obituary reads about how good you were at work. And at some point, you need to make time for dreams which is really time for yourself. When you do these things, you will be better for others around you.

Two choices I have made, and hope they always remain in place, are simple. When given a choice whether to take time to do something new or stay back with more of the same, choose to break out and do the new thing! Count me in the group that plans to slide into the grave with the body used up, not “killing time” on the way to unfilled dreams.

And finally about time, it is by far the best gift we can give. Track where a person invests their time, and you’ll know what is really important to that person. Invest time in yourself as a means to investing your time in others, the most important and meaningful thing we can do!

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