Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Step Away

I just spent a couple of days with my twin grandchildren (oh yeah, and their mom and dad too) and I’m convinced grandchildren are God’s apology to old people for the trials of aging. If ever there is a spark to keep people young it has to be babies/children. Not that I would have said that when I was a parent of 4 but it certainly holds true when as a grand parent changing the diapers is an option, you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night when they are sick, you can bribe them with candy and ice cream and not pay for dental bills, and you don’t have to worry about paying for their college education.

The twins are awesome. I can sit for hours talking and playing with them and the fact the are only 4 months and don’t care a thing about what I’m saying is irrelevant. It’s nice to have someone who will smile at you through a half hour conversation, not offer a bit of criticism and not care they don’t understand a word you said (sounds like some of my international sales meetings). But I also wonder, “what is going on in their heads” as this grown man coos and makes noises like a 4 month old while the 4 month old nods sagely and smiles like an adult?

Occasionally I get the same question about long distance running. “What do you think about when you are out running for hours”? There’s not a short answer since it depends a lot on the weather, the terrain, the location (day dreaming in a city can be an invitation to become a hood ornament), and probably most important, whether you are injured or not. Injured runners spend a great deal of a run thinking about their injury and ways to avoid the pain or avoid making it worst. I polled a few injured runners and to the man (it was all guys) they said their number 1 concern was “Will the next step be the ONE.”. The one that pulls my hamstring again, the one that wrecks my knee, the one that pops my Achilles, the one that prevents me from running again. For an injured runner with a goal, like running Boston, that one step can be the difference between completing another training run or standing on the sidelines on the day of the race. It usually means second guessing everything…did I stretch enough, should I go slower, maybe avoid hills today, should I wrap the injured area, how far should I go so I don’t go one step too far. It’s not hard in the course of the run to be haunted by self doubt and obsessed that every twinge means you are just “One step away” from that run stopping injury.

At some time in our lives I think we all feel like we are “One step away” from disaster of some kind. Problems with finances, jobs, relationships and health issues can pile up and become overwhelming. You reach that point where you feel if one more thing happens I’m going under. I give up, I just can’t try anymore. It might be easier to do that when it is just you but if you have children, family, employees that are dependent on you, giving up is not an option. When you reach that point, where do you turn for help? For some of us it’s friends and family. If you have no where else to go it might be a church or local charity. It is to these last people that we want to offer Help in the Nick of Time. The goal of the foundation is to target families that need a little helping hand to get them through a difficult time. It might be to fix a broken car, get a new suit for a new job, handle a short term medical issue or help someone travel to see a dying family member.

My goal is to let donors know on a regular basis the affect they are having in reaching out to others.

As for me and the marathon, I’m in the gray area this year. I had the best training I’ve had in years up through the beginning of Feb but it has been a disaster since. I’ve had days where I could jog a few miles, days I could walk and jog for several hours, some days I could barely cover a couple of miles and some I couldn’t run at all. It started with the Achilles but as is typical of runners insane enough to run with an injury, my attempt to compensate has resulted in problems with the opposite knee. So at this point I have no idea where I will end up on Marathon Day. I plan to be at the starting line and I know I won’t be moving fast enough to be anywhere near last year’s time or even near the qualifying time for my age group. But I plan to make a go of it and use the walk/run approach and with good weather, a stiff breeze from behind, the support of the crowd and the grace of God, Nick and I will make it to the finish line in under 5 hours.

So I’m not giving up, at least not yet. If I can move I will be out there and I’ll be counting on Nick for a little Help in the Nick of Time.

Until next time….

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