Sunday, June 1, 2014

On Commitment

by Bert Carson
For the past five or six weeks, I've been absent from many of the things I most enjoy: writing, blogging, recording my stories.  I wasn't AWOL, at least not in the strict definition of the term.  I was caught up in my semi-annual day job rush, which happens in the spring and again in the fall.

Normally during those peak seasons, everything gets put on hold except satisfying the demands of our business.  This year there was an exception to the norm.  May 12th, I laced on my running shoes after determining I had to go for a run, even a short one.

An hour and twenty minutes later, after kicking myself every step of the five mile torture tour, I dragged my aching body back into the house.  As I stood in kitchen, pouring water into my body like a fireman dousing a house fire, I had a conversation with myself that went like this:

"It's been eight days since my last run.  That's why it's tough."
pause
"I've been down this road too many times to keep doing this same stupid thing over and over."
pause
"I will start running more often."
pause - then
"What is more often?"
then, with no forethought I said to myself:
"I'm going to run every scheduled running day from this moment forward."
(Note-the schedule is run three days, rest one)
I couldn't believe I'd actually said that.  I was so startled I stopped gulping water for a moment and considered what I had done.  After thinking about it, I said it again, with clarification.
"I will run every scheduled running day from now until the end of the year, and then I'll revise/renew the commitment."

I was a little shaky about the deal, but I reconfirmed it to myself and began to believe I could and would do it.  That was 21 days and 70 miles ago.  Some runs have been short, others longer, some were in the rain, a couple were delayed until storms passed.  All of them required more planning than I usually put into running, however the planning eliminated the possibility of falling into the "I'll do it tomorrow trap."

With the renewed commitment to running, came a rekindled desire to read George Sheehan, who wrote beautifully on the subject.  Passages like this, from The Essential Sheenan, make the tough runs easier, and the easy runs joyous:

"Running made me free.  It rid me of concern for the opinion of others.  Dispensed me from rules and regulations imposed from outside.  Running let me start from scratch.  It stripped off those layers of programmed activity and thinking.  Developed new priorities about eating and sleeping and what to do with leisure time.  Running changed my attitude about work and play.  About whom I really liked and who really liked me.  Running let me see my twenty-four hour day in a new light and my life style from a different point of view, from the inside instead of out."

An amazing thing happens when one makes a commitment, a real commitment.  Things began to happen in a most serendipitous, magical way, to insure the commitment is realized.