To Run.

For starters, this is not a politics-oriented blog. Loyal readers (I think there’s a handful of them out there! I really don’t pay attention to readership numbers, such as to avoid any feelings of sadness) probably already realize that nearly all my political pieces are profiles of candidates, and have titles beginning with "Speaking with." And, as far as any intentions I may have of running for office someday, I think anyone would have to be something akin to a masochist to want to serve in government right now.

No, this is about the athletic endeavor of running, a part of my life that was second-nature for a while and has long been absent. Sometimes, when stopping to pondering if something is lacking in my existence, I think of running. "I should start again, but when will I have the time?" "Can I develop the discipline to keep at it?" "Am I going to be OK doing it?"

I haven’t run regularly since 1995, and even all those years ago I wasn’t as avid a jogger as I once was. I had run a little bit with my cross country team at SUNY-Binghamton my freshman year (fall ’85), but even though I gave up my team travails, I still had the ability and go for a 3-to-5 mile run with little effort. That had subsided by my senior year, but by the early ’90s I was starting to get it back. A few months after moving to New York City – where I’d reside for four years – I got in the habit of running laps around Gramercy Park. That led to running regularly in Corporate Challenge 5K events in Central Park, and a fondly remembered ability to outlast my brother in our one-on-one basketball matchups (he’d usually rout me in the first few games, but by the end I’d have completely turned the tables).

It was ’95 when I moved to Erie, Pa., to be with my then-girlfriend, completely altering my life in the process. That proved to be a difficult time – one during which I was often consumed with anxiety (no job, no anything other than the girlfriend) and depression. It was shortly after the move when I experienced a panic attack while running; not knowing what it was, I only became further panicked and wound up in an emergency room. Other than a few weeks of running on the treadmill at the Worthington Y a couple of years back, I really haven’t run since. Even though my attacks have vanished, thanks in part to both medication and considerably more happiness and stability, I still can’t help but think of the day I was running and then, suddenly, couldn’t do much of anything.

Now, though, there’s a little motivation pecking at me to get on my feet and get after it. My dad, who will be 66 this September, wants me to run with him during this year’s King Turkey Day. (He wants to do a 5K and I’m quite sure the race is 10, but the thought is to do the fun run/walk). He hadn’t been running for years because of some physical problems he’d had doing it many years back – he strived to run a marathon in Vietnam but hurt himself during training – but has been back at it recently. If my dad is going to come all the way from upstate New York to Worthington and run, surely I’ve got no choice to join him.

After all – once I get going with it, anyway – I’ve really got nothing to lose (except maybe a couple of pounds around my waist area) and everything to gain. Thanks, Dad, for urging me to get off my butt.

2 Responses

  1. Stanley McGaughey - the Dad

    There’s some history here that I don’t remember – perhaps memory loss. I always thought and still do, that running is a matter-of-fact activity for you. You’ve definitely got the mechanics. It’s just a matter of a little toning of the muscles and re-familiarizing the lungs to rapidly processing massive doses of oxygen. (I’ve been out for about four weeks now after more than a couple of years of not running; it’s slow going, but it’s going, and it feels great.) Though it’s not a race between the two of us, I expect you’ll need to call on your wonderful parenting patience as I work to keep up with you.

    For me these runs are best when just relaxing and enjoying being with all the people engaged in the same effort; our breathing; our shoes on the pavement; the sights in the neighborhoods along the way; our shared encouragement; the happiness of just being able to do it; and, this time, being with you.

  2. Amy

    Go for it Ryan! Ryan and I have both started running as well. It’s much easier for him as he used to be in cross country – but I’ve been doing the couch to 5k program and it’s working so far! We are hoping to do the 5k run walk as well. Hopefully see you there!

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