Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What I've Learned from Running for Chai Lifeline

1. The sneaker is right: just do it. Rain or shine or sleet or hail... my resolve hasn't been tested by these yet, actually, but it is pretty dark and chilly at 6 am. But if you want to run a marathon, you got to run. And in everything else in life. The only way to achieve is to do.

2. Only three types of people are up and about at 6 am: 1. Joggers 2. People walking dogs 3. Men going to morning minyan. From this I've learned that man will do some pretty crazy things for his best friend, and I should hold them as a model for my own dedication to my own family and friends. It is heartening to know, at least, that the average Jewish man is at least as dedicated to God as the average non-Jewish man is to his dog.

3. You won't get anywhere by taking it easy. You need to push yourself to make progress, and oddly enough, the other side of exhaustion feels about the same as the near side. But you'd never know that unless you visit.

Inertia is your enemy: once you stop, it is hard to restart. But once you're going, it takes less energy to just stretch your legs out and really pick up the pace. Once you're putting in the effort, why not put in just a drop more and do a good job of it?

4. ...but then again, you need to know your limits. Marathon running is about pacing yourself. Runners alternate between a faster pace and slower jog. Or, if you're a novice like me, you alternate between jogging and brisk walking. If you overextend yourself, you'll just wind up keeled over gasping for breath and wondering why you've taken on such an impossible task. You want to run a marathon, but you don't want to end it like the original marathon runner.

5. Speaking of the original marathon runner, there's a fellow we can all learn from. Whodathunk that one day millions of people per year would get together in cities around the world to run 26 miles just because some nameless Greek soldier did it thousands of years ago? If you put your heart and soul into something and really believe in it, people will remember you for it. If they don't run a race for you, at least they might give you a footnote in a history book.

And now a message from our sponsor, God, (who sent me a complimentary pair of Nikes): If you haven't yet submitted your proposal for personal improvement for the coming year, please do so before deadline next week Tuesday. He would like to remind you that repentance, prayer, and charity should all be represented in a successful proposal, and that Chai Lifeline happens to be on the shortlist of approved charities. You can donate by following this link and sponsoring my run.