Thursday, January 21, 2010

Writing Contest and Report on the Scottsdale Open Mile

I'll start out with the race report from Tuesday Night's Open Mile. It was pouring down rain and I thought I would be the only crazy that came out to the Community College to run in the Open Mile, but to my surprise there were about 15 other crazy runners. The rain actually felt pretty good because it was not that cold outside and for us living in Phoenix, we have to take the rain when we can. I felt really energized in the rain but my mile split was not that great. We ran two mile races 1609 meters with about 10 minutes between races. My times were 5:50 for the first one and 5:51 for the next.

Below is a short essay about why I love to run. I submitted it as an attempt to gain free entry into a local half marathon. I sure hope that it wins, even if just because there were not enough entrants. The running club has five free entries, so maybe only five people will take the time to write a story/poem or article. I don't set my goals all that high. Anyway, if you are interested here it is.

Why do I love to run?

Even though I don’t remember it all I can remember some of my fondest childhood memories surrounded by the freedom of running. Often it would be running shirtless in the summer sun through sprinklers or through puddles of water and even sometimes into the lake that sparkled near where we lived. Something was innocent and pure and never was I more alive.

As time moved on adolescence set in and running was the tool that lifted me from the awkward moments and provided the self esteem I needed. Blessed with the talent to turn in times that demanded a certain respect, running became something I needed. Each day running was something I loved, something I tended to and kept a close eye on. I measured each run and dissected each race to see what I could do in order to make myself faster and therefore more liked or respected by my fears.

Over the years running was there and it helped me to achieve many things in high school and college, but as I matured it became much more than just something that got me into college or earned me athletic prizes, it was something more, but even today I am not sure just what that extra something is all about and how to capture it in words.

Running has served me well in my military profession. Running is a prized ability that is rewarded in the military. I’ve been blessed to have the military sponsor me to travel thousands of miles to participate in races where I have represented the Army at some of the largest foot races in the country. Also, running has been a tool that I’ve used to teach others about their inner strength, and a place where I hold some of my most important meetings with my subordinates.

Running has always been there for me, and as I pass the peak running age and head down the final slope of life I see that running is still there for me. I have changed my internal challenges and find myself trying to see how far I can go instead of how fast. Once it was all about PR’s now it seems to be personal distances. Marathons seem routine, and 50 milers and 100K races have been conquered, but now I’m on a race to capture the 100 mile mark, and even though I’ve tried twice I get back up and am already signed up for my third try, because if there is one thing running has taught me it is to never give up.

Finally, as I mature and I see myself coming full circle with my running I often look at the question of this essay and my answer can be found in the memories of my childhood. Pure running is what I used to call junk miles, but even though those miles may do nothing for my competitive drive, they are so very important to the charging of my life batteries. The days when I take off my watch and my other gadgets that monitor my progress are the most valued. The days when I let my mind wander and the worries or stresses of everyday life are left behind are the reason I truly treasure running. The true joy of running is when you find yourself in the joy of being a child again and feel the crisp air and the fluid blood pump through your vibrant body. Running lets me know that I’m alive and it gives me the clarity of what is most important in life, and when I throw aside the competitive side of the running drive which I am too often a slave I find the joy that keeps me coming back to what is most important in life and that is to link this beautiful life with my wife and children that really keep me grounded. Running gives me the energy and allows me be the man that they love too.
- By: Jeffery Bott

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