Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Changing and Sparing

Only I can change my Life. 
No one can do it for me.
- Carol Burnett

It is important - at least every now and again - to venture outside of one's comfort zone.  That is one of the reasons why on Sunday I participated for only the second time ever in the LBI 18 Mile Run.  While I run regularly, I do not often run eighteen miles at one time.  Allow me to amend what I just said.  I never run eighteen miles at one time.  The last time I had done so prior to Sunday was when I participated in the first-ever Central Park Marathon in February 2013.  

The other principal reason why I run is simple:  I am my father's son.  WPK, Sr. might be one of the two or three most brilliant minds I have ever known.  Yet he lived his life either unwilling to or unable to take care of himself.  The old man wrestled with his demons as we all do.  But he never seemed to win the match against his.  I recall him saying too many times for someone with my terrible arithmetical skills to count, "I am the perfect weight for someone nine feet tall", which would have been swell had he not been approximately five and one-half feet tall.  

His body paid a terrible price for his wholesale destruction of it.  Ultimately, at age fifty-seven, it simply quit on him.  The heart for which he had done exactly zero favors during the entirety of their partnership finally decided it had had enough.  Death came for him in his sleep on May 31, 1981.  

I was fourteen when Dad died.  I shall be forty-eight in February.  When I was a much younger man, I embraced my father's "fuck it" attitude regarding my health.  I drank to excess.  I ate too much.  On occasion, I introduced my body to "foreign substances" that I should not have.  I cared little.  I was not in it for the long haul, after all. 

That changed when I met Margaret.  Funny how one's focus shifts when one has someone (or in my case three someones) for whom to live.  I was not - and am not - anyone's idea of an overnight sensation.  It took longer than it should have, probably, for me to cut back substantially on the bad food I ate and the amount of alcohol I drank but over time a change was made.  

And still it was not enough.  It was not until I took up running as my principal physical activity approximately five years ago that I truly accelerated the process of metamorphosis.  Is it coincidence that the closer I get to "57" the harder I push?  As someone who believes not at all in the notion of coincidence I have my own opinion as to the answer to that hypothetical.  

I am not a complete idiot.  I understand that I can run neither fast enough nor far enough to ever undo the self-inflicted wounds of a quarter century ago.  But I am enough of an idiot to believe that I can sure as hell try.  

That is good enough for me.  It has to be.   


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