Friday, December 27, 2013

WHAT ARE YOU RUNNING FROM?

On Christmas night, a quick moving storm dropped an inch of snow on northeast Pennsylvania.

Sidewalks were covered, but streets were clear when I went for my mid-morning run.

But...

Do you ever notice, no matter where you live, how a snowfall, in any amount, brings out the crazy in people?

Normal drivers become 90-year olds, or some think the slick surfaces allow them to become NASCAR drivers. Neighbors fire up the Toyota-sized snow throwers before dawn, and those who are forced to shovel the snow the old fashioned way are often resentful when they see a runner happily pass as they are engaging in perhaps the first physical exercise in the past eleven months.

Throughout my 37-year running career, irate drivers and folks shoveling snow harbor a unique resentment towards runners. Check out my take on runner-haters in the chapter entitled, "Why Do They Hate Us So Much?," in my book, "Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice For Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes." www.runningshortsbook.com

Yesterday, however, a gentleman clearing his sidewalk looked me as I loped by and asked, "What are you running from?"

Normally, I would reply with something irreverent or sarcastic, but instead I shrugged my shoulders and pondered his question.

What ARE we running from?

Well, we are a minority, living in an obese nation. Americans are killing themselves by eating too much of the wrong stuff. Maybe we are running away from the obesity epidemic.

Ben Franklin once said that the only things we can be sure in life are death and taxes. Runners remain a few steps ahead of the Grim Reaper. He'll eventually get us, but he'll have to catch us first. Unfortunately, we can't run from the IRS.

Many folks these days are victims of stress. We have the advantage of running away from it. I have found running to be the greatest stress reliever imaginable.

We run from the ticks of the clock. They are our most formidable opponent. We strive to keep the numbers low. Oh, and we run from those just like us. Friends become adversaries when the gun sounds.

All of us are running either to or from our birthdays. Running is the only sport where we actually look forward to birthdays that end in 0 or 5, because those numbers signify a new age division.

Let's face it guys, women need running more than we do, simply because they DO more than we do. So, ladies, run away from needy kids and needy husbands. Run away from stresses we guys can't begin to comprehend. Run away, and come home refreshed and recharged.

We run from high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. We run from depression and from the pressures of life in the 21st century.

Whatever you're running from or whatever you're running for, there are more reasons than there are snowflakes to keep running.