I’m coming to the vast realization that this blog has been a repository of what I think about other stuff. Reviews and the like. Race reviews. Movie reviews. Music reviews. And that’s fine and dandy, but it doesn’t really tell you anything about *me* in particular. Depending on why you’re here in the first place, that might be a good thing. If my stats are any indication, a huge chunk of you are here looking for any and all Top Gun-related homoerotica, or a picture of the Paul Stanley solo album cover. And of course there was that Halloween surge of South and Latin Americans looking for pictures of Zombie Zorro. Any way you get here, I’m more than happy to oblige. If a fraction of you fine folks stick around and read whatever it is I have to spew profusely from my mind, I consider it a day’s work (for a bicycle repairman).
So here’s a brief bit about me, and, more specifically, why I run. You see–
Aww, come on! Stick with me. Trust me, you’re going to find it REALLY fascinating. It speaks of the universality of the human condition in ways that run oblique to conventional thought. You see, back around the 6th Century BC, the ancient Greek scholar Thales, father of the Milesian school of philosophy, postulated that —
. . .
OK. The elevator pitch.
Why do I run?
Because on Labor Day 2010, I looked like THIS:
39 years old. Grossly overweight. Tired. Anemic. Lazy. Excuse-making. Over-indulgent. Moves like Jabba.
And not to polish my spider-monkeys TOO much, but this was me five days ago:
As much as I’d love to deny it and assert myself with more spiritual and practical concerns, a big part of it had to do with vanity. Let’s face it: we pride ourselves on appearance. We’re judged by it, even by the least discriminating of spectators. It’s a huge pillar of our self-esteem, but with it comes the eventual truth that there are certain things we have to accept and let go of. You’ll never be able to change your basic body type. Rock-hard, sixpack abs will never be in my future. Take a look at every male Millheiser who has come down the pike. Tall, broad-shouldered, and all with very rounded, manly bellies. I’m 6’2″, and I’ll NEVER be comfortable sitting coach, and you’ll never play my midsection as the percussion in an Appalachian Jug Band. I have long legs and a comparitively shorter torso — high-waisted and short-ribbed — so having a Mark Wahlberg physique ain’t happening. Heck, having a Alan Thicke physique seems like a longshot.
I can totally live with that. Perfection is boring anyhow. But appearance issues aside, it’s about health, longevity, energy, self-satisfaction, confidence, inner peace, and happiness. Running doesn’t make me happy on its own. Realizing that I am in fact a disciplined enough person to train and sweat and commit to a lifestyle brings me happiness. Because as that grotesque picture way up there reminds me, I once surrendered to laziness and indifference, and it nearly killed my spirit and self-confidence.
You know who are the most physically beautiful people in their 50s, 60s, and beyond? Not those that went under the knife to carve away their faces, pump up their lips, expand their boobs, suck away their fat deposits, or thin out their wrinkles. The vast majority of them end up looking like a real mess. It’s the people who took care of themselves, who stayed fit, active, healthy, and happy — that is the example towards which I push myself. Yeah, I wince when I see the wrinkles around my eyes when I smile for pictures. As I’m oft to mention, finding gray hairs in my soul patch makes me think I might be getting too old for the soul patch. And no one who does the sheer amount of core/abs and cardio activity and keeps it low-cal/low-fat like I do should have the love-handles I got. To all that, I say vaya con pollo.
Because every time I line up to race at 6am on a Sunday morning, I’m not beating everyone who stayed home, slept in, won’t bother, etc. I won’t compare my road to others. Like it is when you’re doing time in prison (from what I hear, honest!), everyone has to run their own race in life. I’m leading by example, not for anyone else, but for my past selves, especially the Labor Day behemoth with the guitar, letting them know that whatever mistakes they made, that there’s no course that can’t be corrected. And I’m making a commitment to my future selves, an investment in their longevity, happiness, and satisfaction. For the me right now, though, it’s nothing but dedication to a purpose. And chocolate milk. And lots of joyous, clangy race bling!
Well that’s that. I want to thank all of you who stuck around to–
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