Print this story

The running season is here and I think I'll watch

POSTED April 27, 2012
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson


                               The running season is here and I think I'll watch

           The Litchfield Hills Road Race looms, a scant six weeks or so away (June 10). The Boston Marathon seemingly run in the tropics this year is history. The running season is here.

            Now, at least on one level, the only reason I’m interested in this is why people do it. Particularly the marathoners. Heck, I’d rather have a kidney stone. Oops, just had one and on second thought maybe I’d rather run (the stent is a killer). Let’s move on.

            We had a number of area runners compete in the Boston Marathon in temperatures like they were in Aruba. I admire their guts and question whether the elevator goes all the way to the top.

             They trained for months in wind, rain, cold and heat. Pulled muscles, cramps, a hang nail here and there, tight shoes and almost getting run over by our legion of cell-phoned drivers were constant challenges. Nobody can question the intestinal fortitude.

             A friend, Maureen McMahon, pushed herself on weekends, mornings to get out there and train. I would ask her how far she was going today and she would answer, “Oh, about 15 miles.” She ran distances Southwest doesn’t like to fly.

             Long-time writing colleague and friend John McKenna ran a 56 mile race within the last year. They call it an ultra-marathon. Even running guru Dave Driscoll shakes his head at that. John Is a fine writer, a respected friend and in great shape. I’m jealous. But, I think he needs to talk to someone like Frasier Crane or Dr. Phil. John, get help. Please.

              Even the LHRR which is a pedestrian 7.1 miles compared to the marathons is a bit too long unless you walk it like Bill Neller - backwards with libation in hand and don’t care whether you get lost in White’s Woods or finish on Monday. My kind of race.

              I can’t deny the physical benefits to all of this exercise.  I would love to join the flat-belly society and look good in profile when I’m standing next to Rod Dixon or even Terry Musselman for that matter. The blood pressure would go down and the sugar level.

              Yet, I just seem to be able to find more reasons to watch, observe, applaud and keep my feet in one place. You guys run, I’ll write. It’s safer.

                                                                    *

       My car doesn’t like to go 26 miles (if it’s a marathon), or even seven sometimes. Why would I want to run further than I want to drive?

         I can’t afford those lightweight, colorful running shoes everybody seems to have. I’m wearing Nike Airs and I don’t think they’re considered a good running tread. My only other option is my hiking boots. But, they make for heavy feet and don’t look good.

          I could get lost in some of the longer races. I’m pretty good with directions and getting to basketball games in my car, but on foot? I could end up off course and getting picked up by the suspected aliens in Bantam Lake if I’m running in Litchfield. In Boston I could end up in what is left of the old Combat Zone and that may not be healthy.

          Very few of my colleagues at the LHRR have run the race so why should I. I mean, Peter Wallace, Tim Gaffney and Joe Palladino haven’t expressed any interest so why should I upset the apple cart.  The Hartford Courant’s Lori Riley could probably do it, but even she would rather ride in the press truck.

           I might inhale too much oxygen and it kind of makes you talk, well, a little spacey. Have you ever talked to some of these runners who do it for a living. They are so into it they come across as being a little out of it.

            I would have to buy to some new clothes and that gets expensive. Look, if I start running I would hope to lose some lard. But that means new pants, new shirts, the whole nine and half yards. Taxes are high in the old home town. I might have to go to Good Will and get some new duds. That doesn’t seem right. And, I don’t want to walk around in baggy attire. Not cool.

             Too much time would be needed. In the three hours it would take me to finish the LHRR (provided I was in peak condition) I could have dinner, two martinis and three cigars at the Village Restaurant. And I don’t even drink martinis or smoke. I could be standing on the green eating from Don Murelli’s fruit bowl or trying to figure out what exactly Brent Hawkins has on his head.

             In the 14 hours it would take me to hitch a ride on a marathon course I could be writing three stories, reading Tommy Leonard’s book again (great friend of the LHRR), done some of the chores my wife left me, watched my son’s Little League game, watched the Beach Boys at Woodstock and driven home, recounted Dave Vigeant’s high school point total basket by basket and tried to figure out how Winnie the Pooh has managed to avoid arrest after decades of wandering around with no pants on.Bad back. My chiropractor, the good Dr. Porzio, says I shouldn’t be running and especially on roads. Who am I to argue with the doctor? What good is a lame writer? I’d need a new chair for my desk and have to buy a hot tub.

               It’s more fun not to run. At Litchfield I get to ride in the truck and we finish first every year. I have no pulled muscles, no corns on my feet, I am not out of breath except occasionally when getting on the press truck, I don’t need those satiny shorts they run in and I don’t have to go to bed early the night before the race. What do you mean some of the runners don’t either.

              My wife would beat me. She’s already a better softball player. Do I need this?

             Too much time to think. The thoughts that would go through my mind. It would be too much for one person to handle. 

 Hey, running is a good thing. It’s just not for everybody. As for marathons those should be reserved for movies and conversations with long-winded people.  Maybe there is something to be said for a healthy roll and cutoff jeans. Okay I got rid of those in 1971  (the cutoffs, the roll is fine) but I don’t have any `running gear’.

            They season is here and I will cheer, but a step you won’t see me run. Healthy and sore may be the way to go, but it surely isn’t the most fun. So give me a wave as you pass me by and maybe a look of disgust. I’ll sit in the truck and admire your pluck as we leave you in the dust.

            Smile guys and ladies and run well. I’m just jealous you know.

                  

For more from Rick Wilson click here