For the love of the run and the Sox

sad chair
At week 16, reclining isn’t an option.
Illustration by Jim Carroll

Last night, I got home very late from work. I’m working toward a very important meeting and the hours have been long, and the stress level pretty high. I also had a short three-mile run scheduled to stay on pace with my marathon training program. There were several things tempting me to not go on my run, however; everything from the fact that I had just worked 12 hours, to the rain that started to come down right when I walked in the door. But, of all these things, two stood out as real challenges to my new love of running; the Red Sox were playing and my super comfortable reclining leather chair was waiting for me with open arms (Chair arms, of course. Real arms would be creepy).

In the pre-”Jim starts running and now he’s actually going to run a marathon” days, I would rush home from a stressful day of work to my super comfortable reclining leather chair and beloved Red Sox, finding stress reduction on par with a Xanax-laced Swedish message. A rainy run at 9 p.m. was not even close to being a consideration.

To say it was tough to get motivated would be an understatement. I started walking around and doing things other than getting ready for a run. I could feel the internal tug-of-war. I opened mail, started writing this blog and of course checked on the Sox game. It was the closest I’d come to blowing off a run in my 16 weeks of training. How close was I to not running? Let me put it to you this way — I heated up Chinese food. That’s right, I took Chinese food out of the fridge, put it in a bowl and microwaved it. This is not a pre-run meal, it’s a pre-nap meal.

But after finishing my sweet and sour chicken, something amazing happened. I didn’t sit down in my super comfortable reclining leather chair and put on the Sox. Instead, I put on my sneakers and, remembering that the title of this blog is “On the Run” and not “On the Couch,” I ran.

After my run, I felt great — not just because I exercised, but because I stuck to my commitment. Anyone can run on a Saturday afternoon in Central Park on a 70-degree day in early spring, pre-baseball season, but to run on a Thursday night along the FDR when it’s raining in October and the Sox are playing in the American League Championship — that’s dedication. The best part is that I got back early enough to catch the end of the Sox game and see them win game five and put themselves one win away from going back to the World Series.

As for my super comfortable reclining leather chair, I did sit down for a while before going to bed. It seemed a bit more comfortable then I remembered it. Maybe it was the time we spent apart or the severing of what could have been a co-dependent relationship, but either way it felt right and all was good in the world on this rainy night in October.


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