My friends say I’m a runner. I tell them I play one on TV.
I said this to a woman during a 5K on Father’s Day after she told me she runs to eat endless ice cream.
We make excuses for everything, but why running?
For the last mile of the I race tried to figure out why I ran, other than to claim to be a runner like people already believe. I got into lacing up my shoes after a successful knee surgery (OK, three) that relieved five years of chronic knee issues.
I shouldn’t be looking for an excuse to use my bionic knee as the orthopedic surgeons at Beth Israel crafted it to be, but here I am, writing for my excuse.
I’m not a politician trying to cover up putting my foot in my mouth. I’m not my brother trying to justify another speeding ticket (in his Volvo). I’m not looking to make an unnecessary pair of jeans worth the sticker price.
All I could come up with was the same reason I prefer pavement to treadmill – if you go out on a run, you have to come back. It’s a getaway, one step at a time.
I learned to ditch the iPod and breathe, and get far away from the hectic world and think, just like in the shower but without the soap and the hot water supply that never lasts long enough.
This time to myself seems to be far from acceptable to others, which might be why some runners find reason to justify taking an hour out of their day to hit the pavement.
I hate to be cliche and tell people (myself included) to “take time to smell the roses,” but in this current caffeine-hyped society, it seems necessary.
It’s June. It’s the lazy, hazy days of summer, but apparently there is no “lazy” anymore.
I’m not in class or currently editing the sports section, but I still constantly check my email out of habit. On coffee dates with friends, phones are thrown on the table, not because we are popular, but because we never know when someone will have a question only we can answer.
And it’s not just college students.
My dad recently caved into a work BlackBerry to accompany his personal iPhone.
You can’t get my mom off her computer without an orange reflector vest and imitating the grounds crew at Logan Airport.
We schedule extended family birthday dinners weeks ahead of time to make sure it’s Sharpied into everyone’s calendars.
But somewhere in the craze of the last few years, I started smelling a few roses, putting myself first with a run or evening spent in front of a baseball game.
And then, I realized these runs aren’t solely for me – roughly every race I’ve run in the last two years has benefited one charity or another, making my weekday runs a step towards those weekend races that give back to the community.
Maybe I’m not so selfish after all.
I’m not suggesting that everyone take a place at a starting line, but realize that giving yourself time to be you can do more good than harm.
Tie your shoes tight, smear paints on a palette, grab a pen and a notebook, or a scorecard and pencil and relish in an hour to yourself, sans excuses.
But if you can’t single yourself out, remember that giving back can be disguised in a road race, art show, poetry slam, open mic night or baseball game.
Two birds, one stone.