KingMidget's Ramblings

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If I Could Bottle This

I have written about my running efforts every now and then.  At the end of the month, I’ll be running my first 10K in several years.  That’s not actually true.  In my solo runs, I’ve run a few six, seven and eight mile runs over the last few months.  No.  Since my groin tear of several years ago, I have struggled far too much with running to sign up for an organized run.  The 10K at the end of the month is my first organized run.  Some people call them races.  But, at my pace, race would be a misnomer.  It’s just a run, with a whole bunch of other people, to raise money for some charity.

So, then I did a really stupid things.  Some co-workers having heard about the 10K I was running, signed up for it.  And then signed up for a 5K that takes place about 90 minutes after the 10K should be complete.  There’s a local running club called Moose Drool that gets together on a regular basis for a short run that ends at a local brewery for the all important post-run beer.  The same day I’m running the 10K at 8:30, they’re hosting a Beer Week 5K at 11:00.  And, yes, being the fool that I am, I have signed up for both.

And I don’t know why!!!  It’ll be interesting.  These days I just don’t feel very strong when I run.  And typically, after a run, particularly one that is six miles, or 10K, in length, things might get a little tight.  A little creaky.  The idea of running a 5K only a little bit after a 10K — it’s something I’ve never done before, and it may just be a bad idea.  But I’m doing it anyway.

The thing is, as much as I don’t enjoy running — and I don’t, I never have a truly comfortable run — there is still something about it that is just so fundamentally right.  There are these people out there who can run any distance at any time, regardless of training it seems, and they are fine.  They are good.  They just don’t feel it.  Me?  That never happens.  Every run involves something.  Tight calves.  Creaky knees.  Hip pain.  Tired legs.  Something.

But when I’m running, something happens.  My mood lifts.  I open my mind and my heart to so much more.  There’s an older woman who lives a few houses down from us.  When I run in the morning, I frequently pass their house and she is standing on the sidewalk.  Frequently in a robe or pajamas.  It is clear she is suffering from something like dementia or Alzheimer’s.  But, speaking two different languages, we’ve started a conversation.  Yesterday, she introduced herself to me.  Elsa.  She is from the Philippines.  I want to say so much more to her, but it’s difficult to do so.

There are many Sikhs in our neighborhood and the older ones can frequently be found walking the streets of the neighborhood.  One of them has found a place for me.  I’ve written about him before, but whenever I pass him on my runs, I stop and we stumble through a few broken words.  There’s a connection.

That needs so much more.

And this is what I wish I could bottle.  The feeling I have when I’m running.  Where every person I pass is worthy of a “hello,” a “how are you?” a “good morning.”  I felt this weekend like I’m in danger of becoming one of those old men who sits on a corner and waves and shouts “hello” at every car and passerby.  But what’s wrong with that?  In this world where we are becoming more and more disconnected from each other while we connect more and more — maybe we should step back and just say “hello.”


Maybe the lyrics aren’t quite right for this post, but there’s something there anyway.  Stop.  Say “hello.”


18 responses to “If I Could Bottle This

  1. Carrie Rubin February 14, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Tough to give that up. Fresh air and a sense of community is something we could all use more of. Maybe if the body’s not cooperating, a brisk walk could do in its place?

  2. Trent Lewin February 15, 2016 at 4:15 am

    I suppose there’s a chemical explanation for what’s released when you’re running, but I feel the same way when at the gym. I feel that my mind opens and accepts things, peers into stuff, hovers above me or something like that. A feeling worth craving.

    Love that you’ve connected with some people, language issues aside, while running. I think that’s pretty awesome.

  3. sknicholls February 15, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Always be the one who waves and smiles.

    • kingmidget February 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Exactly … doesn’t matter who it is. Old people, young people. Sikhs. Young teenage punks. I’m gonna wave and say hello. What is odd is how surprised people seem to be when I do so.

      • sknicholls February 15, 2016 at 7:21 pm

        I am surprised here in Florida. I always wave and smile. Most people here are reclusive to the point of being antisocial. Rarely do they smile back. Some wave. I was whistling once while hanging Christmas lights and my neighbor said, “Don’t see what you find in all of this to be cheerful about.” I still wave and smile. It’s about who I am, not who they are.

      • kingmidget February 15, 2016 at 7:29 pm

        Yep. I just would like to take that openness I experience while I’m running into other realms of my life. Not to say that I’m anti-social in other settings, but I’m far more reluctant to be open.

  4. cinthiaritchie February 15, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    OMG, as an avid runner (i.e., someone totally obsessed with running), I totally get it. I’m a VERY introverted person but after running a few miles, I become extremely chatty. I talk with everyone I pass. I tap people on the shoulder, I shout out hellos, I blabber about everything and anything because I suddenly love the whole world and the sky is bluer and the air feels beautiful against my skin, etc., etc., etc.
    When I run with other people, I open up. I talk about the hard stuff, the painful stuff. Many of the people I run with are like this. I think it’s brain chemistry, yes, but I also think that the act of running is primal and soothing and opens us up to possibilities we normally can’t see.
    P.S. The “happy” feeling diminishes when running long distances but peeks in again every few miles, as if to foolishly urge a person on through unbearable pain.
    P.S.S. Good luck on the races! (!!) I think it’s really cool that you’re running both races back-to-back.
    P.S.S.S. I’m watching the Olympic Trials Marathon (again) while typing this. I taped it, lol. I’ll probably watch it, like, 20 times.

    • kingmidget February 16, 2016 at 6:46 am

      The odd thing for me is that I can open up this way while I’m running, while at the same time dealing with the pains and discomforts of running. As I’ve said, I rarely have an “easy” run. But while I struggle along, I get that “happy” feeling and seeing the people along the way … I just want to connect to them.

  5. atkokosplace February 18, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Saying hello is a wonderful thing. I just was telling someone that giving a moment of yourself (saying hello), doesn’t take your soul away, it fills it up. A kind word or two can really make someones day and it costs you nothing. I don’t terribly love my workouts, however once I am in into it, I do feel uplifted and almost don’t want to stop. I think getting going for me is hard because I am taking time for myself more than the not want wanting to workout (if that makes sense). As I start or end my workout with a jog or a brisk walk on the treadmill and the feeling of “I can do this” comes over me, all is good and I forget about what pains me. I wish you well in your runs. And continue to say hello to all even if they don’t understand you. 🙂 Peace, Koko

    • kingmidget February 18, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Getting going is difficult for me. All too frequently, I find reasons not to run and frequently the reason is “I just don’t wanna.” And you’re right … saying hello is a great way to fill your own soul. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Nurse Kelly February 18, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Hello Mark! See what I did there?! Beautiful post! I’ve been a runner for so many years. I did a 10K a couple of years ago and placed in my age group. But I really have no desire to do one again. I do 5Ks on occasion for good causes with friends, like you do, and that’s fine with me. Otherwise, I just run for myself. I do 2 to 3 miles every day. I’ve been running on a gravel and dirt trail now for 2 years, and in the winter I’m on the treadmill. The surface makes all the difference in the world, plus I get the benefits of the hills. Couldn’t run on the roads anymore. Was wearing compression sleeves and wrapping my knees… it was bad! I don’t think I’ll ever run on pavement again unless it’s in a race.
    Good luck with your back-to-back events! Just have fun and don’t worry about the time. Some walkers are faster than some runners! And so many people walk/run the races these days anyway.
    And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being one of those garage or porch-waving grandpas! They spread good cheer! LOL!

    • kingmidget February 18, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      Hello! Good Evening!! How are you?

      I ran a handful of half marathons a few years ago and then tore a groin muscle playing soccer. Ever since, my running has been more limited. It’s only in the last six months or so where I have been able to make it a more regular part of my life. But I still struggle with the motivation to run. One of the things I look forward to when I have more time is the opportunity to run every day. To start every day with a three mile run would be a great way to begin things. I generally run on pavement because it’s the only real option where I live — to run through the neighborhood. But, that’s another goal — to get closer to the river or something else like that where there are dirt trails where I can run. There’s a park I run at some times — it has a dirt path around its edge. It’s amazing how much my discomfort while running lessens when I run there.

      • Nurse Kelly February 19, 2016 at 3:41 am

        I have no issues at all from running on the trail. It’s all about your joints, you know. I even ran in minimalist shoes for a while until I wised up and realized how important more foot support is! Just think of the Kenyans – they never train on pavement. It’s like running on dirt is natural for humans! Hope you have a great weekend, Mark 🙂

      • kingmidget February 19, 2016 at 8:52 pm

        I’ve decided that Sunday morning I’m going to head to the American River Parkway, where there is a paved bike trail and dirt trails all over the place. I’m going to run the dirt trails and enjoy the view, the scenery, and the run.

        Have a good weekend, Nurse Kelly!

      • Nurse Kelly February 20, 2016 at 3:09 am

        Sounds like a great place to run, Mark! And please drop the nurse title when you talk to me! But… speaking as one… I’m very happy to hear your decision! 🙂

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