9.11.2005

Dependency

My name is David and I am a runner.

There. I admitted it. I am hopelessly dependent. I don't know what the creed is to come to grips with the reality that my life is different that it used to be but it struck me like a pink slip last night.

We hosted Supper Club, a traditional gathering of former neighbors (once nine couples, last night just five) that rotate the hosting duties every other month and rotate the libation and course responsibilities too. I know supper clubs are not uncommon. It surprises me that we have continued so long since only two couples remain in the old neighborhood. We've been assembling ever since the mid 1980s and it has been an interesting evolution. Children are born, grow up and leave. Couples break up. Jobs change. Personalities develop. Old age creeps in. One constant: the food is always good.

Last night, once all the folks had arrived and the first round was served, the guys asked me to turn on the TV so they could watch college football. That's not entirely uncommon but it was strange for me as they began regaling each other with all the minutia of games played earlier in the day. To me it was a familair but forgotten language. For 30 years I worked in college football and could talk my way through any conversation with some forbearance of knowledge. On this occasion, I was clueless. I didn't even realize the season had started a week ago. I could not care less about who was playing. Where did that old passion go?

To running.

As the evening went on I answered questions about how I was and what I had been doing since we had met last. All I could talk about was my training regimen, how I've never felt better in my life, the New Haven 20K, my RBF friends and a few easy to cover accounts of my son at West Point. For the most part I got blank stares back. One guy runs a little but none of the other guys or their wives run. One couple that was not here do run but they were out of town - running probably.

The guests were drinking. I was thinking about my long run Sunday morning. They shoveled in the chow. I took modest portions. They talked. I thought about seeing my running pals at 700 today. Finally, I went outside on the pool deck and stared in through the windows at the party going on. I was not a part of it or them. It hit me hard. I have become someone else.

I am a runner. I live to run.

I went back in to say goodnight to some who were leaving. Others stayed on to some later hour. I snuck into my room, brushed my teeth and slipped into bed. I had to sleep. I had a date in the morning.

I am a runner.


I woke up at 545 with the eagerness that consumes me. I laced up and ate a banana; drank a tall glass of filtered water and grabbed a towel and water bottle on the way to the car. Driving to Park Avenue, I snapped a picture of Lake Virginia in the early morning light. At 700 I was running and talking with Chris, Tim and Jack; hailing Kim and Mary as they surged past us; and saluting someone else doing a tempo run with a "Great pace!" I was where I wanted to be. I love the morning light and empty streets of a Sunday long run. It is so dramatic. It is the time for runners.

My name is David and I am a runner. See you at the next meeting.

29 comments:

Laurence of Atlanta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LouBob said...

I totally understand how you feel, the only difference is I love to run in the evening!

Sarah said...

A very moving post, David...quite poetic :-) And that picture is beautiful...

susie said...

We were of the same mind this morning. As I rounded the corner by Lamb's store, I thought about how I have become someone else. Beautiful post, David. Many of us will relate to this.

D said...

I can totally relate! Maybe that's why most of my closest friends are also my training partners. Only they understand why we get out of bed at 4:30 on a Saturday morning to run 20 miles!

Rae said...

I know what you mean! Whenever I talk about the RBF at work I get the suspicious looks from co-workers that I'm involved in some sordid internet group of freaks. We may be freaks but at least we're healthy freaks with a purpose!

Bex said...

Great post - I know exactly how you feel. My non-running friends say I'm a "fanatic" about running. I find that amusing as I only log 25-30 mile/week max, and you know that's light years away from being fanatical about the sport.

Danny said...

That's kinda scary a little...

I definitely know what you mean, as I feel like I'm always talking about running (or my lack thereof) these days. However, I don't think I've made the commitment in my mind to say that this is who I am forever. It's more like this is who I am now.

But I'm working on it!

Jack said...

What a beautiful post, you have put to words the feeling and realization that "I too am different!" This year I have come to the realization that I have started a new chapter in my life, that I too am a runner, and I have no desire to return to my old non-running ways.

Lara said...

Beautiful contemplations. I still shake my head in disbelief that I love running the way I do.

Running Chick said...

Sigh.

Me too, David. Me too.

At the moment, most of my friends are talking about babies, having babies, taking care of babies and making more babies. I like babies. I do.

But I love running.

And when I'm invited to do something 'fun' on a Friday, I give a tentative 'yes' with the understanding that I won't be drinking, that I must have access to pasta and that I won't be out too late.

So me too, David. =)

Bex said...

David, I got your comment about meeting up in Fla. - but I can't find your email address! So I hope you get this. I'll be in St. Pete Thursday night and flying back Friday late afternoon. I know, a quick trip, but let me know what your availability is. I'm not sure how close you are to the Tampa/St. Pete area.

ShoreTurtle said...

Great post! So many of us can relate. I think if you put a bunch of the RBF in a room, it would be like your friends talking about the football minutia. There are so many running related things to talk about! I'm introverted, but often during a conversation with non-runners about running, I realize that I'm talking way too much. I try to stop before their eyes glaze over completely.

a.maria said...

wow, even as new as i am to the world of running, i can relate... that was beautifully said!

Pamalamadingdong said...

:( I Miss my running group

Bex said...

David - thanks very much for the St. Pete route - I'll print out a copy to take with me on Thursday.

april anne said...

Hi David. I really enjoyed this post. It’s funny how those things happen isn’t it?

Cassie (TIGGS) said...

I hear ya!!! It's tough b/c nonw of my friends are runners besides the RBF'ers. At least there is a large core RBF group in my city. My other friends just don't get it and many have stopped asking me to go out on Friday nights b/c I won't drink anything but water, I have to watch what I eat (no greasy food!) and I'd prefer to be home in bed by 10pm!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Yup I will be at the same meeting. I can totally relate and heck I even book my holidays around running a race or volunteering for one.

Oldman said...

ok so i'm a little slow, i just read your post and it "hit a cord" with me. like you i belong to a dinner club, "dinner for eight". after completeing a 100 mile bike race i was pumped but had to go to a neighbors for dinner for eight that night. they asked about my training and i explained my tri training and told them about the 100 miler earlier in the day. i got blank stares. ok so you road your bke a 100 mile in 5 hours something. one neighbor told me i was nuts. another told of a marathon who at age 80 died of a heart attack, duh! while every one was on the atkins diet i was straved for carbs. i went home slept well and got up the next day to do my long run... i'm addicted?

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