Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Family, Runner, Connector, Encourager

Since I blogged last I have run another 14 miles and am at 1143.2 total.  That puts me on first street just west of Uniontown KS and headed for Limestone Rd.  The two runs were a six mile very sweaty run and an 8 mile progression.  Both were runs that I expected to be more challenging to keep pace than they were.  I am feeling much better than I had thought I would at this stage.  But it is still early in training for this fall's marathon, and I have to be careful to take nothing for granted.

With that said, what interesting things have happened since Sunday?

Well, for one, a running friend posted on social media yesterday that a friends of hers had once challenged her to write an obituary assuming that she achieves her goals.  She commented that she had achieves many of those goals already.  That is a great feeling.  It is a feeling that not many people in their 30's and 40's necessarily have.  I've commented on things like this before.  I am blesses to have achieved so much at age 44.  Does that mean I am done?  No, of course not.  However, I wrote something yesterday that essentially said, "Anything else is icing on the cake.  But I want to cover a really big cake with a thick layer of icing."  

That brings me to a few things that reflect what I'd want to be remembered for.  I'd want to be remembered for being good as part of a family--father and husband.  (I could also talk about son and brother, etc. but that would make this a very long entry.) Part of being a father and husband is dealing with family issues like cars.  My wife and I had an interesting time shopping for a newer car the other night and continue to explore what options we might have.  We need to make a decision soon.  The shopping was not necessarily "fun" but it was pleasant and I love spending the time with Sherry.  

Second, I'd like to be remembered for my running.  Not a world class athlete, of course.  But for how important it was and the role it played in my life.  Something of interest there in the past few days.  I retired another pair of running shoes at 503.7 miles.

Third, I'd like to be remembered as a connector (no surprise given the title of the entire blog).  Last night (Tuesday) provided a great example of how I could be a connector.  My son is a sufficiently good horn and piano player that he was accepted to study either horn or jazz piano at several very good conservatories.  Last night, I was not planning to attend, but Sherry persuaded me to attend, a benefit concert sponsored an organization called The Baltimore-Uganda Alliance (TUBA) in which a Baltimore-based piano instructor and other volunteers support the development of a brass band outside Kampala, Uganda.  Cool idea.  In any case, my son played as part of a brass ensemble that had been brought together by one of his high school classmates--the classmate making his conducting debut.  It was a very fun concert.  At several points throughout the women who leads the organization made a variety of comments about the organization, its purpose, and her trips to Uganda--particularly with some students.  She also commented on working with the Bloomberg School of Public Health and its Dean as well as the change in direction of the brass band in Uganda and how it was becoming more businesslike and looking to be sustainable.  Of course, I had to take the opportunity to speak with her.  And now we are exploring whether there would be any interest in having some of our students, perhaps particularly our MPH-MBA students work with her organization to help it to develop a business plan.  I'd say, "Only in Baltimore."  But I am sure it is not.  But there are plenty of opportunities like this for me to help others by extending the reach of an organization I am a part of.  And that is what I enjoy so much about my professional career.  

Finally, I'd like to be remembered as an encourager.  That could go along with being a family person.  It certainly shows up in my running.  And part of being a connector is encouraging those on all sides of the possible connection.  In any case, I had an exchange with a fellow runner the other day who sometimes does track workouts with the group I'm often with on Tuesdays.  This week we are planning a Thursday tempo run instead.  He commented that "he could be one of the cool kids now."  I commented back, "You have always been one of the cool kids.  Just being a runner in Back on My Feet does that for you."  His email response was great.  He said, "Melissa [with whom I ran 10 of the 16 miles on Sunday] always says such nice stuff about you.  I see what she's getting at."  I hadn't realized that I'd made that much of an impression on Melissa.  I had clearly made an impression on Travis.  But it doesn't seem like much of anything to me other than choosing to say nice things when there is a choice and always looking for the positive.  Encouraging.  This applies for running, my kids' pursuits, students' pursuits, Sherry's pursuits.  Just about anything in life.  And it makes others feel good which is about the best feeling I can have.

So, if I am remembered as family, runner, connector, encourager I will be quite pleased. What a nice revelation on my virtual pilgrimage.

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