About a month ago I pulled a tee-shirt out of the pile of old tee shirts in the closet to go for a run. As I shook it out I read the words across the front, “Turkey Trot, 1998.” 1998? Twenty years? As I read the words across the shirt it dawned on me that my tee-shirts were older than most of my students.
I’ve been running regularly since before Nike needed to make political statements. I was country before country was cool; when running was jogging.
I could have just thrown the old tee-shirt out, gone to the store and bought another but I decided to get a new shirt the same way I got the old shirt. Even though I run regularly I haven’t run in a 5-K in a long time. Its different when you run by yourself. When you run alone you always come in first, the tape always breaks across your chest no matter how slow you’re running on any particular day. Runners run not just to stay in shape, there are many easier ways to stay in shape. Ways where you don’t get wet, freeze in winter or dehydrate in summer. Ways where you don’t have to worry about getting run over by a truck or twisting your ankle on some trail a couple of miles from the car.
The thing about running, other than that its much less expensive than a gym, is that it allows your mind to wander while your body pushes itself to places you didn’t think it could go. Not every run, but on a good day, as you’re climbing hills and dodging cars your mind can go into a kind of Zen. Thoughts can be clearer. Objectives become obtainable. Paths become more obvious. Of course, some days it just hurts and you can’t wait for it to be over.
The Turkey Trot at Smith Clove in Monroe has been going on, well for at least as long as I’ve had that shirt. Not only would I be running with about 150 other crazies in the cold morning air but my wife Kat would be running also. Cool.
We stepped up to the starting line, the horn sounded, the crowd dashed for the first turn and the race was underway. Around the ponds, up the hill, down the hill, around the last turn and over the electronic timer.
In 1998 I ran the 3.2 miles in about 27 minutes. In 2018 I ran it 28 minutes and 29 seconds. I wonder what my time will be in 2038?