I never liked running for the sake of conditioning or training or as a means of transportation. Admittedly, I did enjoy the occasional romp along a dusty cowpath, feet tromping up little clouds of dust, arms outstretched and veering through each turn like an airplane. Those small diversions rarely lasted more than a quarter-mile or so and were limited to the days of youth.
When it came time for basketball conditioning, I hated the laps in the gym and the mile runs outdoors. After my senior year of high school, I never again ran or jogged unless someone or something was in peril. And, offhand, I can’t remember a single time in the last forty years when anyone or anything with whom or which I was associated was in that degree of peril.
So, how is it that I recently found myself running/jogging/walking 2.2 miles in 27 minutes? I blame it entirely on my daughter, Susan.
I called her last month to finalize plans for a visit. As we discussed my proposal to have a family gathering at Kentucky Lake on the fourth Saturday in June, she said, “Can we change it? I’m running in a Warrior Dash that day.” Then, possibly joking, she said, “You could run it with me.” In response, definitely delusional, I said, “Sure. Let’s do it.”
If you want to more fully fathom the degree of my insanity, check out “Warrior Dash Kentucky” on the web. For now, let’s just say it’s a 5K cross country run with thirteen intriguing obstacle segments, several of which seem to have the potential to induce debilitating injuries. For a young person in prime physical condition, it should be an interesting manner in which to spend a half-hour or so gaining an assortment of injuries and aches. For a flabby guy closely approaching the senior years, it seems more like hari kari in slow motion.
Although it’s not an easy sell, Susan and I were able to recruit one of her four brothers to join us. Dan, apparently, thinks it will be worth his while to watch such a rare spectacle at close range. As for me, well, it’s the idea of the biggest physical challenge I’ve ever accepted in my life and the opportunity to do something like this with a couple of my kids. I just wish I could be their age when we do it.
In spite of my lack of youth, I have seen considerable improvement in my stamina over the past few weeks. All those hours on the elliptical, the track and alongside the road have really helped; I’m confident that I may very well cover half the course before I need the paramedics. And, I hope to raise a thousand bucks or so for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
In regard to the results of my spiritual conditioning over the past fifty-plus years, I’m a bit more confident. I’m pretty sure that I will finish the course. And gain a far better prize.