Running to Stand Still –

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I ran today.

I’m a warm-weather runner.

I hate running.

But society make me feel like I have to run.

I used to run for pleasure, back when I was in my late 20s, and I was at the University of Oregon doing wind sprints in the gym on rainy days and jogging around the perimeter of Hayward Field when it just drizzled.

I ran two marathons with my wife. We ran the Portland Marathon in October 2003, and the Honolulu Marathon a year later to celebrate our 10th Anniversary.

After that last marathon, I mostly gave up running.

It’s a solitary sport, and unlike Johnny Cash, I am not a solitary man.

I ran a mile a couple times this week before doing my normal kettle-bell weight routines. It’s good to get your heart-rate up before you start swinging the heavy Russian metal balls.

I decided to up my mileage today, incrementally.

The magnolia blossoms are already starting to fall, even as the oaks are starting to get their buds.

And the sounds of lawnmowers could be heard over the pumping sound of Alkaline Trio in my ear buds.

The first mile was not bad, I tried to remember my form and the things I was taught by running coaches at the university many years ago.

I stopped and stretched a bit before proceeding on to mile two.

The men riding lawnmowers watched me run by and either nodded or saluted. I couldn’t tell if they were cheering me on, wishing me well or feeling sorry for me.

The soccer moms pulled their minivans out of driveways and headed off to the soccer pitches for day-long tournaments.

The wood crafters had their garage doors open and their routers whining, and the gardeners hoed the rain-softened dirt as I jogged by.

The old folks waved at me from their windows, which seem like televisions where they watch the world go by a little more slowly than it does through the Cable.

A woman searched for a small dog that got out the night before, but judging from the sound of the coyotes last night around 2 a.m., the little pug might not be coming home.

Somewhere in the maze-like infrastructure of the big 4 bedroom houses, a teenager sleeps off a heroin high from a couple of $10 hits he or she took the night before.

The suburbs may move at a slower pace than the rest of the world on a Saturday morning, but it’s all an illusion. Time is shifted out here beyond the blended city.

You blink, and it skips a beat. Blink again, and you miss two beats.

Blink again, and your kids are in high school, and you’re fighting the downward trajectory of age and gravity.

And as I ran around the blocks with the smell of fresh-cut grass in my nose, I didn’t hate running for a few minutes.

Come Monday morning, when the neighborhood is buttoned up tight, and all the allusions to actual community are swept back under the manicured lawns, I will hate running again.

Tim

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