Saturday’s Tracks

Today I hope to get a “long run” in. I’ve only been running about three weeks this go around, so a long run will only be three miles. I will run it slightly faster than Palmer Glacier on Mt. Hood. Right now, I feel fat, slow, and old and don’t see how I can possibly run 26 miles in October.

In fact, running right now is such misery that I know I would say enough if it weren’t for the place running has had in my life through the years.

As a kid, I wanted two things–to play forward for the Boston Celtics or to run like Jim Ryun, Steve Prefontaine, Kip Keino. Many of my heroes were runners and I have witnessed many of these runners live. I lived in Springfield, OR for awhile, near Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. There I saw Ryun and Liquori, Pre and Shorter, Lindgren and Moore. I wanted to be them.

Alas, I wasn’t. I’ve always been slow. Still, there have been great moments running for me. There is simply no feeling like a second wind, endorphins kicking in, the feeling like you’re floating. I haven’t felt it for years, but the memory of it is strong. I want to say I’m a runner so I can be connected to all of that.

Physical memory is an amazing thing, memories that can still produce feelings in your body. I can remember certain feelings from the basketball court, a great run on an Oregon trail, my baptism, my teammates slapping my back as I crossed home plate. They are still so vivid. Running today at 51 I expect nothing like that to happen. But these memories will be there on the other side of my pain, physical markers of identity that I am loathe to abandon.

Three miles. Piece of cake. I’m a runner.

About Mark Love

I am the Dean for the School of Theology and Ministry and Director of the Resource Center for Missional Leadership at Rochester College. Part of my job includes directing a master's degree in missional leadership, a situated learning degree. I am married to Donna and have a son, Josh Love, who is a practicing new monastic in Abilene, TX. With Donna, I have also inherited three great daughters and two amazing granddaughters.
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2 Responses to Saturday’s Tracks

  1. craig says:

    I would love to be able to run again. Those long solitary runs of my 40’s would clear my head and heart. 25 mile bike rides are good but not the same and walkabouts, though usually six miles always seem so short.

  2. Lynn says:

    beautiful imagery…can feel the second wind as I type. Definitely looking forward to creating more of these memories again soon! One of my favorite quotes over the 20 plus years I have run. The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running. ~Author unknown, in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

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