Sunday, April 19, 2020

Why I Ran Today.

By Peter Stuart

Why I ran today.


Why did I get out of bed early this morning and run? Why do I get out of bed any morning these days? These days that are all starting to blend together into one homeschooling, whining, complaining, over snacking, grateful to be alive but wondering when things might be semi-normal again? Wondering what normal is or was or might ever be again? Wondering what the lasting effects of constant fear of an unseen potential threat is doing to my already anxious children? Enjoying togetherness but missing friends, socialization. Happy not to travel, go to any parties or work meetings or lunches, but sad that there are none happening? So, so grateful to have some work to do, to be able to form some structure, to have a relatively low fear of running out of food—to be able to spend some time helping to administrate a completely mediocre home school. But why do I run? Why did I run today? 


 I ran to be in my body, to Sweat, to feel breath coming in and out of my lungs—knowing that there is a virus out there that would literally take my breath away. I ran to impose some order on this chaotic time. I ran because I’m part of a team of runners who are all trying to make it through this time, and somehow I feel like I owe it to them and to myself to run while I can still run. I ran because I have a coach who went out and ran 23 miles of every hill he could find yesterday because it seemed “fun”. I ran because Keith will give me shit if I don’t. I ran because Murph drove by with his wife and kids yesterday to wave—because they were bored I’m sure—and because I’ve spent so many mornings at 5:30 running through the dark with Murph. 


So that’s what running has prepared me for. I’ve spent so many mornings running in the dark—trusting that if I continue to do so, If I commune with my fellow human beings, if I trust my coach, If I show up and Just Fucking Run—that I will make it through to the other side. That I will be a better runner, a better person, a better husband, a better father. My own father died when I was 8, and one of my only memories of him is going on long walks after his first heart attack—while he proudly ticked off the miles on his pedometer as his doctor prescribed. Walking to push blood through his clogged arteries—literally walking to stay alive. So, yeah, I’m running to stay alive. I’m trying to outrun death. I’m running to feel alive. 


This morning as I ran, I also ran for my mother. She’s in the hospital in NYC with a combination of COPD, COVID and MRSA. She struggles to breathe every moment. It seems like she’s going to survive this—but either way there’s nothing I can do for her. I can’t visit, there’s not much I can say to comfort her. She is staring down the mortality that we all distract ourselves from and avoid as we go about our days. It is terrifying and it is beautiful and it is the truth of life. 


So I got my ass out of bed this morning and ran to feel alive, to be alive, to revel in having a body that works and air that courses in and out of my lungs while my heart is pounding and pumping blood for another day. 


In the midst of this pandemic, when every day is eerily the same as the day before, we’re being forced into the present. There’s not much to plan for, there’s no race to train for, there’s no trip to plan. This is all we have. Today is the day, there’s no guarantee that there’s a tomorrow (there never really was, but we labor under that illusion). Too many people around the world will lose their lives, will lose loved ones to this virus. Some people will wake up today with the beginnings of a disease that will take their breath from them. There is no immunity, just as there’s no immunity to death—it comes for everyone and we are delusional if we think we know when our time is. 


So today I ran, because today I am alive. 

Editor's Note: Peter is a RoadTrailRun tester reviewer. He lives in Austin, TX.


Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!

Harold said...

Well said and life marches on. I am sorry for your Mother's condition and wish that you could be there with her at this time. There is so much that we cannot control at this time, all we can do is control what we can and you are correct - we can run and when we run we are more alive. Be well.

Anonymous said...

I've learned to run wearing a mask now. Hard to breathe through a mask. But it's better than not running at all I guess...

Rob Brooks said...

So beautifully put Peter. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself with us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. This echoes a lot of what I have been feeling but have been unable to put into words.

Anonymous said...

Parfois google translate est fort appréciable lorsqu'il nous permet de lire des textes de cette qualité.
Merci pour la réflexion.