Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Search of the Perfect Run

As Viper said to Mavrick "A good runner is compelled to evaluate what's happened, so he can apply what he's learned. Up there, we gotta push it. That's our job. It's your option, Lieutenant. All yours."

I love that quote, and the movie. It came out at time when I was younger and could recover from just about anything overnight. I was not a runner then. I was a Marine, we didn't walk anywhere, we ran, or did push ups. I ran when
told and didn't really enjoy it though I ran much faster than I do now. The fastest and easiest run I ever had was in High School.

I remember it, a crystal clear spring day in Boulder just before graduation. I would run in gym class with my friend Mark. We ran with the ease of teenagers and paid no attention to running. It was about horse play and not sitting in a class room. It meant talking about girls and what we would do the following summer. I was off to boot camp, he was a year younger and his summer would be spend hanging out with friends and deciding what the future held in store.
We would power down the hill from the school and out for a couple miles oblivious to the altitude and effort. But the perfect run, the one that I remember to this day came at a cost.

I still remember getting the call that weekend. Mark and another friend, Jeff had been in an accident. A drunk driver ran a stop sign landing Jeff in the hospital and Mark gone from our lives. The following Monday, I found myself in the locker room without my running buddy. Lacing up my shoes I headed out with the class, but alone. I flew down the familiar hill and out away from the school and to this day, 30 years later I know it was the fastest and furthest I ever ran. Everything clicked and it was the easiest run physically I have ever known despite the angst and the tears. Just over a week later I was standing on yellow footprints being yelled at by USMC Drill Instructors and the running was never without urgency and purpose

It would be ma
ny years before I ran again for pleasure, for clearing my head, reaching a goal, or just to enjoy a beautiful day. But that run after Mark's death has never been far from my thoughts. It's hard to express the feeling that memory evokes and I have backspaced and edited this last paragraph much as much as I rolled over in my head what was it about that run, how do I recreate it and apply it forward. Maybe, like the MiG in Top Gun, I just need to relax about it.


BrennanAnnie said...

Ed, I don't know what to say. This touched me. I am never without words but I am tonight. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.

nothingnew said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

TinaGirl said...

wonderfully thoughtful and well written post Ed. Its amazing how those moments define us later and are such a big part of who we are now. We can't replace Mark but we love running beside you.

Greg said...

A wonderful, poignant post, Ed. Thanks so much.

ultrarunnergirl said...

How beautiful, and sad.

Runnrgrrl said...

i think running is a special gift. and if it brings you closer to a moment with a friend you'll never be with again but in spirit, its even more of a tremendous gift.thank you for sharing ed. very touching story.

Run2NY said...

Thankyou for sharing. This brought a tear to my eyes. I am so glad that you have refound the joy in running.

therefore tonie said...

Ed, I sit here and don't really know what to type, other than I'm sorry and glad. Sad for the obvious reasons, and glad that you rediscovered running, and thru that, reconnected with a past that we sometimes run from!! Thanks for that!