It’s not often we have to muster our courage to do something scary. Truly, courage is one of those positive qualities that is rarely on display; and often other traits (obliviousness, recklessness, arrogance even) are mistaken for courage. But real courage happens when we understand the risks, the danger, and yet still swallow our fear and do the difficult and right thing. I think runners who test themselves know something about this; it takes a bit of courage to believe in yourself enough to put yourself on the line in training and competition.
Today, however, no courage was required for an easy 5 miles home from work. As I stood at my usual place on the corner of Madison Avenue and 53rd Street, I had a sudden urge to cry. I was awash in a sense of loss, of growth, and of struggle–always struggle. But then Little G caught a bead on a satellite and it was time to run.* I breezily trotted around midtown and over my 59th Street Bridge then hooked a bit past my corner to tack on an additional mile. The weather–it’s always about the weather for us road runners–was like a gentle friend. The cool air stroked my skin, the darkness soothed my tired eyes. My legs felt free and light in shorts, and my brain ran happy as my iPod pumped song after favorite song in through my ears. My splits were nothing extraordinary, but that wasn’t the point. The point, as we know, is the act. The doing. The running. By staying true to who I am, I make a statement to the world. I draw that proverbial line in the sand. Buddy, nothing and no one are messing with me and my running, so just step off.
Songs I ran to: “C’è da fare” by Giorgia, “Cadillac” by The Push Stars, “California (All the Way)” by Luna, “Call Me” by Al Green, “Call Me” by Blondie, “Can’t Even Fake It” by Ivy, “Can’t Even Tie Your Own Shoes” by Golden Smog, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Baby” by Barry White, “Can’t Get There from Here” by R.E.M., “Can’t Hardly Wait” by The Replacements, “Can’t Say No” by Joan Osborne, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Lauryn Hill, “Candy Everybody Wants” by 10,000 Maniacs, “Carbon Monoxide” by Cake and “Career Opportunities” by The Clash
And here are a couple of videos that made me smile tonight.
*In my movie about running, Tom Hanks would show up blustering, “Are you CRYING? There’s no CRYING in RUNNING!…” Of course, we all know there are tears (see: Kara Goucher at Mile 26 of the 2009 Boston Marathon), but thinking about Tom Hanks saying that line always cheers me up. His incredulity and indignance is unassailable.