Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Searching For A Rainbow

Got to visit with some old friends up north this weekend, didn't get in any runs but did get to relax and reminisce a bit. The weather wasn't great a bit too much rain but it was a nice time, nothing quite like tent camping in the rain. I used to work with these guys at Sperry Defense (who became Unisys/Paramax/Unisys/Loral/Lockheed) a long, long time ago. Two of the families and mine have been getting together for around 20+ years for thanksgiving and 10 or so years back we started doing this annual weekend camping trip together. We have known each other for coming up soon on 30 years so we have watched our kids happen and then grow up, our bodies age, our eyes go, scares with cancer, job changes and many other ups and downs of life.

One thing, I got to do this weekend was something I used to love to do, water ski. I used to be ok at it, but time and lack of practice have taken their toll. I was still able to get up and do a couple of cuts on the slalom ski but it sure seemed a lot harder than I remember. Which got me doing some relections back to the times when I used to go with my buddies to Lutheran Lake and ski for hours on end. I have lost touch with those guys and I am sure that they would be bewildered along with some of my current friends about my leisure activity, that of running long distance events. I have often pondered why I run, I once had a running buddy who later confessed he ran to run away from his problems. I don't think I do that, I think I run because I actually do enjoy it, I also know that I run long distances because I am never sure I can.

You see, I have always been ok at sports but I was never a runner. So for me to run, it is still a somewhat surprising thing for me to do, even after 18+ years of running. From my 20's until my 30's I used to mock anyone who ran. It wasn't until that cold December day in Chicago in 1991 that I discovered I could run and I have done so ever since.

I remember someone asking me if I was running for my health, I said that I hadn't thought about that as a reason. They knew that my father died at age 54 (heart attack) and my mother at 58 (cancer) so maybe in the back of my mind that was part of it, to be honest I still don't really know if it's a factor. I think though the main reason I am running goes back to when I first worked with my old Sperry buddies, I used to get ask to run the corporate series of races. I always said no, made fun of them and moved on. I think though that was a defensive mechanism as I didn't think I could run and I didn't want to deal with my failure if I tried.

So since the weekend I have been a bit off and have yet to run as work has been stressful (oh on a different note but it does help explain why work can be stressful for me, we are now doing the myers-briggs thing at work (funny that I posted about it a few months back, in response to a Steve Q post), and I am now a confirmed "INTP". I love one of the things the psycho babble says about me, "INTPs do not like to lead or control people", so why do I end up having to do this at all of my jobs when all I want is autonomy? Back to my "not running" comment, my body did need a day or two to recover from the water skiing so I gave myself a couple of days off but today I should have run but I think I had to work my way through all of this reflective stuff first. I think I am now ok as I have ended my retrospective with this post and I am ready to realize that I run because I really do enjoy it and that I run long distances to test myself in a way where I might just fail. It's my way of overcoming my past where I failed to try. I also run long distances as I know they give me the time to recharge and solve the problems that are always moving through my mind (usually can't remember the solution afterward though). Last, I do have to admit that I also like the fact that it is a bit different and I like that as well. I like taking the path less traveled.

Another thing I got to reflecting on was the music of my past. The bands I grew up with were from the seventies and I was big into southern rock (Allman Brothers, Ozark Mt. Daredevils, Pure Prairie League, Outlaws, Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels Band and a whole bunch more). My favorite of this genre has always been the Marshall Tucker Band, and this song in particular has always been one that I have enjoyed ever since I first heard it back in 75 (yup getting pretty old) and now that I am a runner, it really reflects why I will always continue running as I am always "Searching for a Rainbow" and what will be waiting for me at the end of the trail. Enjoy.


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