Monday, April 29, 2013

Sometimes You Have to Go Back

You know how you can get stuck in the "keep running, don't break stride, keep the pace" mentality? It happens to all of us. We can get fixated easily on the goals, the upcoming race, the training program, etc. I'm personally guilty. There are several beautiful parks that I run past frequently, and I always say to myself, "I should go check that park out some time." Of course I never have, but obviously I should. Or better yet, I should turn around, go back and run a loop in the park. But for some reason, I'm so fixated on my route, my four miles, my three miles, that any deviation in the plan would somehow alter my running universe.

I'm trying to change that. I'm trying to go back. Today, I was blessed with great company on my morning run. It's been a while since the running crew has gone out in full style, so I was happy and planned a new route on familiar roads. Each of us is at a different place in our training programs, so there was no expectation of a certain pace or no need to "keep on running." Which was nice. It was a nice run that was a good way to spend time with friends. There was a lot to see on the run, so it was easy to go back. Go back and take a closer look at the Gurudwara, the "Lego Temple" or to go back and chat with whoever happened to be at the back of the pack.

The run continued, we ran across my favorite hidden pedestrian bridge, great temples and eventually the hospital that's just down the street from school. At this point, one runner was out of time and took off at a clip to get home, and the four of us kept running. Then from across the street I saw Runner X say something to another runner and head into the hospital. I ran across the street and asked her about Runner X. She said something about him "going to check on something" and kept running. I shrugged, kept running with her, didn't break stride and kept the pace. We ran the last half mile or so, and when we got home, I asked her to explain again what happened. At that point, the doubt crept in. Why exactly would Runner X stop at the hospital? Had she collected enough information? Was Runner X in trouble?

At that point, I decided to go back and check. Sometimes you have to go back. Sometimes it's to visit a park, sometimes it's to see a peacock on a roof and sometimes it's to check on a dear friend to make sure nobody's getting an EKG or an X-Ray or worse.

So I went back. And I was relieved when I saw Runner X coming toward me. "Is everything okay!?," I asked. "Yeah," panted Runner X. "For the past 2 miles I had to ..." I anxiously awaited the diagnosis.

"Poop," came the reply.

Sometimes, you have to go back. When you do, it's always worth it.

Distance - 4 Miles
Time - 47:11
Soundtrack - A shuffle of blues

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