Monday, November 22, 2004

Running for My Life

Greetings, dear readers. Like most blogistes, this blog was created for very selfish reasons. Yes, I wanted to see my thoughts in print. Yes, I thought enough of myself to think others should read my thoughts, but what has been revealed to me is that the words I write are often a message to my deepest self. Sometimes, the inner dialogue needs to be externalized so I don't find myself walking down the street one day, mumbling, or worse, talking with no one in particular. Having said that...

I started running in April of this year. I've shared my challenges with my weight, and as of this writing, I'm about 50 pounds from my goal weight, having lost 50 pounds already. Running was something I used to enjoy when I was really young, and it's the one thing I gave up when I became a human vacuum. Every kid ran because it felt like flying, and now that I've started running, it still feels like flying.

I'm still pretty heavy, and so some would say I'm killing my already beleaguered knees, but oddly enough, my thigh muscles usually hurt more than my knees do. I predict that the more I run, the more weight I'll lose, and the more weight I lose, the less the pain. However, the pain, the challenges to get faster, the building of my self-esteem so I can run on the treadmill next to the gym bunny or out in the park while old men pass me on an uphill has been invaluable.

I'm not very fast, but I am determined. I've purchased good running shoes from a real running store, and I even purchased a quick-drying polyester shirt so I would be more comfortable while running. I try to increase my mileage each week, but not too much so that I injure myself. I've entered a fun run/race on Thanksgiving Day as motivation. Running has become an allegory for my life -- if I can do something so easy, but so challenging, what's to stop me from doing the other things that I often find so difficult, like music?

I've written before about how difficult it is sometimes for me to do what I do. I'm a keyboardist, and I don't think I play that well when I compare myself to others, but I hate practicing because I hate how I sound. I sing, but I think I'm a much better ensemble singer than a soloist, despite the praise I receive whenever I sing. It's so much easier for me to do things that seem outside of myself, but running brings it back home. I don't need to join a gym to run, just decent shoes. I don't have to be fast because I'm only competing against myself. I don't have to compete against someone younger, better looking, or even with better skills because somebody out there wants to hear me play, wants to hear me sing, wants to sing the songs I write. I don't need to run a race in a certain time as long as I finish. I want to do well, and doing well is an important desire; it motivates you and keeps you humble, but unless you're an elite runner (and I'm not, nor do I really want to be), you only need to create a personal record for yourself. I want to have a music career, but I'm not Beyonce, nor do I want to be. I want to play and have a good time. I want to direct a choir because I love choral music. I want to be a great songwriter because the world needs more beauty.

I'm a runner, and I plan to keep running. My life depends on it.

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