Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reigniting the Passion

I'll begin by quickly assuring everyone that this post is not about love and relationships.Well,I suppose in a sense it could be. Today's post came from a conversation I had with another Stotan who was lamenting about the apparent "falling away" of some of the guys we used to train with. All of you hardcore runners out there know what I'm talking about.The runners who used to be as zealous as you are but now have pretty much gotten out of it. 401k's,big mortgages,car notes,relationships,and yes,laziness,have come between them and the sport they once said they'd be a part of till the day they dropped.It's always kind of sad when I run into that former running mate I haven't seen in a long time and can't help but notice he's acquired some softness around his waist.You know,now they look more like the average Joe then Joe Athlete. You ask them if they've been doing any running and they answer sheepishly,"a little." You sort of get the feeling that they're not where they want to be in regards to their running.
It would be easy to dismiss these folks and just get on with our lives but don't we owe it to them to do something? Perhaps some of you are one of those lapsed or lapsing runners. How do you get the passion back? The following is for those you want to encourage as well as those who feel they may be losing their zeal for the sport.I'll begin by relating a personal experience.                                                                          I knew someone who had allowed himself to get into very poor shape,we're not just talking fat here,we're talking high cholesterol and a recent diagnosis of adult onset diabetes.This friend by the way was a onetime 800 meter and mile champion in high school. Unfortunately,he took a running scholarship to a big-time college which was loaded with runners every bit as good as him and better.Add to that a track coach who worked his distance runners like show ponies and my friend was repeatedly injured and done with running by the beginning of his junior year.What followed were years of non-activity,unless you want to call golf a serious physical exercise.I sort of laugh when I recall the conversation I had with him,it was not unlike one you would have with a friend who was drinking a fifth whiskey a day.I told him that he looked terrible and the fact that he was taking the meds he was confirmed my observation.I went on to say that achieving even a reasonable degree of fitness would probably lead to his not having to take those medications. I asked him if he was comfortable with the way he felt and looked,of course he answered no. I asked this seemingly obvious question in order to get him to acknowledge out loud to someone besides himself that this wasn't the way he wanted to be.I then got to talking about  the good old days and the trail runs we did at "the Ridge" and how good he felt. I told him he could get back to that point if he wanted. He said that he did but felt he had been out of it for so long that getting back was impossible.At this point I could have told him he could if he really wanted to and that would have been the end of it,but,if you really care about someone,you have to do more.Another Stotan and I met our friend on separate days to get him going again. That meant hour long sessions combining running with walking,and you can imagine which one of those two activities predominated in the beginning. It also included ragging on him about eating crappy foods and trying to occasionally blow off workouts.On a regular basis I also made sure I dropped off some of the athletic mags I had read. After 2 and a half months the three of us witnessed one of the wonders of distance running; the transformation of a person through this great sport. You might think I'm referring only to his losing weight and getting fitter.To me,the more important transformation was in his thinking,he began to think and act like an athlete.He was feeling good mentally and physically again. He changed his priorities, health and running was in the foreground.
If I had to put the above in a nutshell,I'd say you have to take an active,hands-on approach to helping others,even if it means sacrificing your time.It's all worth it though.Wouldn't we want someone to do that for us if we were in my friend's position?
So what about us? You say it's all you can do to get yourself out on the roads(or trails) for your runs? Maybe you are running less than you have in years. You need to get back into it for your physical, AND mental health.I've noticed that many of the runners who are drifting away from the running scene have not taken part in any kind of road race for too long a time.If this is you,I would highly recommend you find a local 5k and run it,soon! Forget about the condition you are in,forget about trying to race well,just jog and walk if need be. There is no question that feeling the energy of being around a few hundred runners will rekindle your interest.
Also,get back in touch with other runners and athletes.Nothing stokes the fire like being around others who are into it and talking about it.
Read running and athletic materials. Put the Fortune 500 and Business Week mags down and enjoy reading something that your investment of time and energy will surely pay dividends.
And finally,remind yourself of what Cerutty once said, "when it's all said and done,what good is having all the money you want but not having the health to enjoy it?
Stotan Up!

No comments:

Post a Comment