Running towards a goal


Last Saturday I went for an early run to get ready for the day. It was going be just a 5K run (3.1 miles) but I was running so well, I decided to continue. It was not the best idea I’ve ever had. You see, I sprained my left foot just 6 days before running a 10K (6.2 miles for those of you who aren’t good at math).

Well, the minor sprain became a major one at mile 4.4 (I have a GPS watch so that’s how I know). Had to stop and walk (although hobble, gimp, limp would be more accurate words) back home.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten hurt while running. I’ve banged my toe, slipped on oil (hey, it looked like simple water) and fell down more than once.

So why do I continue to run?

There is, like all other sports, potential for physical injury. This is why chess, like all other board games, is not considered a sport – there is no potential injury (although one might complain about a bruised ego).

And I have no corporate sponsorship to offset any expenses. Nike, for example, has not come forward to pay me money to run with their logo on their shirts, shorts, or shoes (although see below why shoe sponsorship may not be a good choice for them).


So why do I continue to run?

First of all, I am completely in charge of my running. No teammates who may drop the ball (literally and figuratively) and no one to wake me up early in the morning. I have to do everything myself. And that is the point.

One is reminded about Harvey Haddix, the Pittsburg Pirates pitcher who on May 26 1959, pitched a perfect game for 12 2/3 innings against the Braves (no hits, no walks, no errors, not one Braves player got even close to first base) and still lost the game. His teammates forgot to score any runs.

So no thank you. If I fail, so be it. It is my responsibility to complete a race and my responsibility to train for it and keep in shape to do it. And when I run, I have complete freedom, to go as far, as fast, or where I want. I don’t think about what my teammates might do, or what they expect ME to do. I don’t worry about work, or what people think about me when I run. It is freedom and exhilaration wrapped up in one package.

It is my personal goal to run 500 miles this year, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 15 (my 50th birthday). You might think I am crazy to want to do this. And you might be right. But there’s more to this run. I want to do all 500 miles barefooted. You might be tempted to say, or at least suggest, that I am crazier that you first thought. Again, you might be right. 500 miles is definitely long distance.

And with my current injury, I am not going to be able to run for at least a week (or about Halloween). When I do get back to running, I’ll have approximately 6 weeks to complete my goal. So how far have I run this year? Four hundred and forty (440) miles. Sixty (60) miles to go in 6 weeks. Again, for all you math challenged people, that means I have to average 10 miles per week for the next 6 weeks.

May my luck continue to hold!

Barefoot Rob

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