Why do we run?

Here’s my favorite answer to the question, “Why do you run?

It’s from Roger Bannister, the first human to break the four-minute mile barrier, on the morning of May 6, 1954.

I sometimes think that running has given me a glimpse of the greatest freedom a man can ever know, because it results in the simultaneous liberation of both mind and body……The runner does not know why he runs.  He only knows that he must run……We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves.”

Roger Bannister

Dr Curtis Wagner, thank you!

I met with Dr Curtis Wagner of Foot and Ankle Associates of Florida – www.floridafootdocs.com/gpage2.html – for a checkup this morning.

My left heel had me concerned enough that I prayed long and hard last night for wisdom and guidance.

What I discerned was that I was willing to surrender and accept whatever consequences where revealed from this morning’s visit.

Of course, after a decade on this journey to battle high cholesterol, and working so long and so hard, that my running became an extraordinary “story”, the last thing on my mind was stopping.

I finally found my resolve and was content to go to sleep.

When Dr Wagner came into the exam room, I told him, “I surrender to your verdict.” It was humbling.

I could sense his belief in my sincerity. This too, was quite humbling.

He said, “Don’t stop training yet. Keep up your stretching, ice, and night-splint. Take one 200mg Celebrex capsual each day for 30 days. See me in two weeks.”

I can only begin to tell you that whatever is in store as this unusaul journey unfolds, I am willing to accept it and use it to bring honor and glory to God.

Use me as your instrument. Give me courage and wisdom to remain humble and discerning.

Good night.

Know how impossible got it’s reputation?

Ever wonder why people try to do “impossible” things?

Ever wonder why things are impossible?

I think I realize why “impossible” is actually pretty much, well, impossible.

Now please know this, I ain’t no brain surgeon.   What I am is a decent guy with the same hopes, dreams, fears and troubles as other humans.  All of it’s relative by the way.  People are starving.  So no, I’m not starving.  Yet, I must stress that every human is going through some type of hell.

Anyway, since no male on my Dad’s side has made it past 60, I am acutely aware of my predisposition to both physical and mental deterioration.  It is what it is.

So, rather than react, I’ve chosen to act.

And ten years ago……

…… I began running.

The first two years, all I could do was walk.

After two years, I started running, at a pace slower than a decent walk.  I jogged “one mailbox a day” for a week.   Second week, two mailboxes a day.   Third week, three mailboxes a day.  After several months, I was jogging a couple miles.

Jogged for a few years by myself.   Every morning, cold and dark, oncoming headlights blinding me at 60 mph.  I didn’t mind, at first.

Eventually, boredom crept in.

The need for a positive distraction was evident and I found it in a local 5k race, “Run Among the Lakes”, in Windermere, Florida.  I had never run a 5k before.  Nervous to say the least.

On “race day”, 1,000 people show up at the “small town”  run.

After fininshing, I had done well enough to not be last in my age-group.

Age-group?   Who even knew of such a thing?  This was the positive distraction I needed.

No longer worried about how fast I was, or wasn’t, I focused on lowering my time, to increase my age-group ranking.  It slowly, but surely, paid off.

I started finishing in the top-ten in the 45-49 age group.  In some 5k’s, even as high as the top five.  Wow!  I was hooked.

My resting heart rate lowered.  Body fat decreased.  Muscle tone increased.  Blood-pressure under control.  HDL cholesterol inceased. LDL cholesterol decreased. Trigycerides lowered. Feeling great and looking healthier. What’s the downside of all this? Nothing.

So. once a month, on average, I’d “race”.  This lasted about three years.  Then it happened again.


I sort of reached a point where it was no longer fun, or worth it, to run so hard that you thought your lungs and heart were going to explode.

Another distraction please!

The local paper, “The West Orange Times”, a once-a-week small town newspaper, had an article featuring Dave Rauh, the wonderful builder www.brierhillhomes.com who in 1992 built our “dream home”, and he had finished second in the 400 meters at the Florida Sunshine State games in Track & Field.


Dave!  I could beat Dave!

(At least I thought so)

The internet search provided a quick discovery.  The National Training Center www.usantc.com, nearby in Clermont, hosted monthly Track & Field meets during the Spring.  Anyone was welcome to compete, even “old guys”, known as Masters athletes.

The very first meet, there’s an 11-year old boy and a 70-year old man in the lanes on either side of me. My stature was firmly implanted with the judges. They had to be thinking, “You, my friend, are hereby banished to the slow guys heat. Of all the runners competing that day, my heat was by far the slowest.

“Who cares”, I thought to myself. My heart, pounding so fast and loud, and we hadn’t even been given the, “Runners, take your mark” command by the starting official.

BANG! The starter’s pistol fires and we’re off and running. It wasn’t long before I passed the 70-year old. The 11-year old on my inside lane? Never saw him again until the race was over.

It became official, “I was the fastest of the slowest!”

Wow, this is a really long post. The longest I’ve ever writen. No matter, since I’m the only one who’ll ever read this far anyway. (smile)

Next meet, full of ambition, I pull a hamstring on the backstretch.

Season over.

Next year, same thing. Early season hamstring pull on the other leg.

Third Track & Field season, fininshed 10th at the Master’s National Championships, in Charlotte, NC, barely missing a chance for the finals.

Two years ago, ran three consecutive 400 meters races under the Official All-American Standard of Excellence (56.0). My training times are indicating my next race should produce a near world-class time.

But two weeks before the 2007 National Championships in Orono, Maine, and four weeks before the Master’s World Championships in Italy, it happened, again.



This time, it’s plantar fasciitis.

From July 2007 through January 2008, I completely stopped running. Nothing. Notta. No mas.

January 2008, I met Dr Curtis Wagner www.floridafootdocs.com/gpage2.html , a wonderfully competent and compassionate podiatrist at Sand lake Commons.

He called me the poster child for what to do to treat plantar fasciitis. The only thing I hadn’t done – cortisone shot, something I swore I would never do. Guess what. I walked out with one. Why? Dr Wagner attends the same Church as me and his son is earning his Eagle Scout rank. Immediate credibility for me to trust his judgement.

Two weeks later, on Valentine’s Day 2008, I began the journey all over again. One mailbox a day for the first week, two mailboxes a day for the second week, three mailboxes a day for the third week, and so on.

Here we are, March 8, 2009. The Master’s National Championships are in July, and the World Championships in August, in Lahti, Finland.

And, drum roll please, I’m concerned about my other foot.

What the? Son of a sailor!

Back to see Dr. Wagner tomorrow morning. The pain in my left heel feels like classic plantar fasciitis www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantar_fasciitis . I haven’t run in three days and am on a course of 600mg Ibuprofen, 3 times per day.

Back to the original two questions.

Ever wonder why people try to do “impossible” things?

Ever wonder why things are impossible?

I’m convinced, there are so many variables that have to be looked at, considered, addressed, focused on, worried about, overcome, etc., that one small “failure” can cancel out the whole effort.

It takes a complete and all encompassing effort to be world class, to do the impossible.

Good luck with your big life goals.

Why the World Championships?

Why do I have this crazy dream of running in Lane 8, in the 400 meter finals (Men 50-54), at the 2009 Master’s Track & Field World Championships?

I don’t know exactly.

There are several factors:

1.  Hereditary high cholesterol.

2.  I get bored easily.

3.  I have a tendancy to dream BIG!

4.  I’d like to live to see our eight-year old son graduate High School in ten years.

5.  It’s absolutely impossible!

There, I said it.

It IS impossible.

Yes, and….

The only reason it’s impossible is because the odds say so.

After a decade of obstacles, simply to get and stay healthy, I’ve come to realize that the hard work and the time commitment, have elevated my running from ordinary to something unexpected – extraordinary.

So, while I’m healthy and motivated, I’d like to revisit a childhood dream of being an Olympian.  Thank you Randy Paush (The Last Lecture), for the permission to hold onto childish dreams.

Dream big.  Get there.  Stay there.

Make it a great day, because if you don’t, who will?  Carpe diem.  🙂

What’s the limit to a BIG goal?

Tiger Woods has a new, world-class goal.  Know what it is?

Can you guess?

To be the best Daddy in the Universe? He has a newborn son, and an almost two-year old daughter.

First of all, I currently hold that title, “Best Daddy in the Universe”. My human son (eight) and canine son (9) voted, and it’s official.

Guess again? Here’s what he said, and I quote it from yesterday’s USA Today front page:

“I want to become better than I was”.

This made me think, and maybe you too, “What’s my BIG goal this year, and for the next couple years?

Funny thing. I actually have an answer.

Do you? If so, great. If not, why not?

I always think, “Dream Big.  Get There.  Stay There.”

Wishing you the passion, will, and opportunity you need and want, to dream big dreams.  And more importantly, to go after them.

Carpe diem!