I ran a 5K this past weekend. It was, for me, an unprecedented first-time act of madness. When I meditated on the reason why I would do such a thing, it became clear to me that I was trying to emulate my father. Growing up, the arc of my feelings towards Dear Auld Dad went from abject fear, to resentment (although, inexplicably, never hatred) to complete and utter indifference. That I would mirror him in any way is not a small revelation to me.
I’ve never been athletic. I never played a sport in school or entered a race. I didn’t like the idea of putting myself in a position where I could be defeated. I was already experiencing quite enough of that with academics and trying to lure the opposite sex.
When I was a little kid my dad played softball. The team was sponsored by Hildebrant, an old and storied meatpacking company in Cleveland. Dad was a butcher and he cut meat for them. My mom would take my brother and I to the games and I remember those summer evenings with tremendous fondness. She’d buy us a slab of Bonomo Turkish Taffy at the concession stand. We’d smack it against the bleacher seats and divvy up the pieces.
I remember being thrilled when my father came up to bat. He was a big guy and could really smash the ball. It’s one of the few fond memories of my childhood connected directly to him. I felt it was important for my daughters to see me do something athletic. If I could implant that same cheap thrill that I enjoyed into their tiny minds and then nurture it, they might be more inclined to be participants in life and not just fearful spectators sitting on the sidelines, like their pater.
I’ve been doing short runs on a treadmill for many years but I’m no runner, that’s for damn sure. Waiting at the finish line were my two daughters and my mother- and father-in-law. I thought a time of 30:00 would be a respectable showing. I finished in 27:08 and came in 11th in my age category. Not bad for this old geezer. The look on their faces is worth the continued burning in my legs. Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish with the proper motivation?
Speaking of old geezers, if you were to visit the Barnes & Nobel on 5th Avenue tomorrow at 12:30, you could get a book signed by KISS drummer Peter Criss. Come back at 5:30 the same day and get a book signed by Rod Stewart!
On November 1st you can get a book signed by Ric Ocasek of the Cars. If you had been there on October 9th, you could have gotten a book signed by Pete Townshend. Is this the new trajectory for aging rock stars? I blame Keef Richards for this.
A very good evening for someone walking down 8th Avenue, don’t you think?
Way to go with the 5k, geezer.
Hope you can perhaps keep it up–it can only get easier. I did a 5K without any training a few years ago. Half killed myself but enjoyed it in a perverse way.
5k, in that time and you’re not a runner? Think again my friend.
vesper: Though considerably younger than I, you are certainly no longer a spring chicken. Need I remind you?looby: At the conclusion of the race, while laying in the grass trying to catch my breath I thought to myself, “That was fun. I wonder where the next 5K is?”Chef: Believe me, I had no idea I had it in me. If I could have done that in high school, I might have enjoyed some cheerleader favour. Oh, for what could have been.
Keef is actually something of an intellectual (for a rock star) and wrote a fine memoir in his own words. But Rod Stewart must have had a ghost writer – his grey matter quotient is similar to Bruce Springsteen’s. Running is almost as good for the butt as climbing trees.
Hell’s teeth! I probably couldn’t walk that distance in that time! Well done.I’ve read Keef’s book and I have a book published by Pete T (he was Eel Pie Books).
Maith an feár! :¬)
GB: Is the ape gluteus maximus similar to ours? Because post run, mine is absolutely tight as a drum.Dinah: I keep hearing how great Keef’s book is but it’s so damn thick and heavy that I can’t carry it with me!map: Thank you, sir. And thank you, Google translate.
well done, sugarpie! re the books, yeah, i have keef’s, my neighbor just started pete’s…and you know how old i am! damn, but i’m old. on the upside, i dream of running, does that count? ;~) oxoxoxoxo
Nice article, thanks for the information.
27:08 in your first 5K? that’s some serious chubb, fella! i’ve got a friend who didn’t start running at all until he was about 50. he’s never been really fast, but he was good at distance. at 62? he’s an ultra-marathoner – completing 100 mile runs on trails, over hills, at night and whatnot. he says that one of his key advantages is that he didn’t start running until he was older – so his joints weren’t already destroyed!you are fresh young meat in the world of runners! congrats on sticking it out… and i’m now craving some turkish taffy. thanks for that memory, too!
sav: I was anti-Keef because he badmouthed Mick. There’d be no Keef without Mick. But I keep hearing that the book is a masterpiece so I may have to relent.daisy: I’m hoping I don’t morph into a running nut. People who run too much look like starvation victims. Marathon first place finishers all look like they can use a nice pork chop or a few cheeseburgers. I like my soft edges.
My elder son – in his fifties still finds running very therapeutic.Don’t go mad:)
Good for you, UB!!I once did a 10k race in 58:58. I was second last but just glad I could still move! The last bit of the race was uphill… I think the bastards were trying to see how many they could get to quit!I’ve toyed with running again. Haven’t done it in years and my knees and feet aren’t in the best shape because of my job, but just might give it a go.I always loved it…
Pat: Your elder son is an inspiration. Old does not necessarily = old, in the traditional sense. Pointa: How in God’s name did you combat the boredom while running for an hour? That’s why I won’t run a long distance. Too dull. I wouldn’t have made it without my music.
My local book shop has Michael Palin of Monty Python some day soon now…I’d love to go up with Eric Idle’s book or something and see if he’d still sign it 🙂
My little boy old? Never!