Running for Love?

Posted by admin - 03/03/12 at 05:03 pm

“I’m a runner, too,” he blurted out with a sly grin.  “Maybe we should
knock out a few miles sometime,” he added.
“Sure,” she answered. “I’d like that.”
Over the weeks that followed the banter grew, from friendly back and
forth to playful trash talk, amusing commentary about trails of dust
and the back of his disappearing head.
If only he knew.
When he proposed a race, she agreed without hesitation.

“No pain, no gain,” he cried out to no one in particular as he pounded
down the asphalt at a blistering pace.
She smiled and trailed a few yards behind, quiet, steady.
“I’m feelin’ the pain, so I must be getting’ the gain.” He glanced over
at her.
She kept gliding along the road, content to let him surge ahead.

The verbal sparring reached new heights the night before over dinner
and though she recognized it all in jest, she felt the familiar bile
creep into her stomach, the stirring of that dark place that she both
accepted and embraced yet still brought up shame.
It was what it was.
It was who she was.
She would not lose.

In bed, almost unconsciously, she spent a few minutes visualizing the
She had never followed the course though she knew the finish line.
She needed nothing else.

“Looks like it might rain,” she said, her first words.
“Do we need to stop?” he queried with a half-smirk.
“No,” she responded softly.
“No rain, no gain.” He laughed at his own joke. “Maybe it’ll help me
At the fifteen minute mark, she began to accelerate, lengthened her
stride a half step.
She had only one fear, that he might have a strong kick for the last
stretch and that his longer legs could carry him more quickly at the
very end.
She would wear him out long before then.
There would be no kick, of that she would make sure.

“Shall we do the three and a half or the four and a half loop?” He
“Whatever you think,” she replied.
“For the four and a half, you hang a right—otherwise, go straight,” he
tacked on.
She turned right.

As the lactic acid squeezed the fibers in her thighs and calves, she
pressed harder, driving past the pain, beyond the burn.
It hurt.
So what?
A lot of things hurt.
The indomitable fury that fueled the drive simmered beneath the
She knew it had nothing to do with him.
It didn’t matter.
She had no on-off switch nor other measure of control, though personal
work over the years held it in check, hidden under a mostly pleasant
The battle belonged to her, with herself, and for the most part, she
managed to keep it private.
As he fell behind, she slowed down, long enough for him to catch up,
then drove again, unconscious of her no-prisoners approach or lack of
One more curve, one more street, done.

Down the final third of a mile stretch, for a brief moment she glimpsed
terror, a fleeting notion that maybe he had enough juice for a burst.
Sucking for air, she forced a torrid rate, each foot rushing past the
other beneath her—it could not be.

No, it could not.
She left him in her wake with a widening gap though drew little
satisfaction from it.
It simply had to be that way, that’s all.
Fifty yards from the finish line, she stopped and began to walk.
He caught up and stopped beside her.
They walked the last ten yards and crossed together, no words

None needed.

That’s A View From The Ridge…


Success Quotes

Be a “get to” not a “got to” person. Each day can be an opportunity, if
you see it (seize it) that way.
Josh Cox

I didn’t think it was possible to love running more than I already do.
Then I discovered running with you.  That said?  In a race I would drop
you like a bad habit. (sourced by Kathy G.)

Key Points

I wrote this particular column about the first time that I went running
with my wife, Kathy, long before we tied the knot. I should have called
it Mr. Cocky versus the Gazelle (a nickname of hers unknown to me at the
time.) She selected the above quote from Runner’s World (her favorite
magazine, another fact unknown to me) and did in fact, drop me like a
bad habit in that perhaps fateful race–not once, several times.

When we run together (which we still do), she frequently glides ahead,
only to circle back with her customary “you okay?”, then turn and surge
ahead again. After the first hundred times of mild to severe annoyance
at the question, I have learned to just nod and keep plodding. In my
first and only marathon to date, she beat me by an hour and fifteen
minutes and then accompanied me to the medical tent as I iced my
screaming knees.

The bottom line is that she is a far superior runner and always will be.
And she likes it. She gains huge benefits from her runs and gets grumpy
if cooped inside for too long. I, at least, have the decency to not
enjoy the process and view it more appropriately as a necessary method
of mid-drift management. I trail behind her like a dog with his tail
wagging, sucking air and wishing that fat blocking pills actually

That said, another lesson springs to mind through this tale of the
trail. If you love something and on top of that, it benefits you–then
get out and do it. How many of us reminisce over the “good ol’ days”
when we spent more time outside than on our iPhones, rode our bikes and
breathed the fresh air, took long walks, went to the ball park as a
player or dove into a pool for a few leisurely laps.

Leaving the physical positives aside, what about the mental clarity,
the stillness from turning off for a while, the feeling of inner
satisfaction that wells up inside after we get out of the house or
office and do something–anything.

When was the last time you chose tennis shoes over texting, your
bicycle over email or a bathing suit over Facebook?

Oh, and did you know that exercise leads to better and more frequent

Maybe you should go find a new pair of running shoes…

3 Responses to “Running for Love?”

  1. Gavin May says:
    March 6th, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Spellbound reading that blog! As a runner myself I can identify with that inbuilt burning need to compete against myself. Wouldn’t be entirley happy with the wife beating me though!

  2. Kris says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I have not read all of your views you have sent me over the years, but today your email just was a light I wanted to turn on and expose to the world! So the story was and is very special. Thank you for sharing it with me today.
    Kris Able

  3. Freda says:
    March 22nd, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    What a loving tribute to your beautiful relationship! Love it!

    Blessings my friends.

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