>> Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yesterday I went for a hard, fast 6 miler. Something kinda funny happened about half-way into the run.

As I was running past a middle school, I noticed a man really running hard, “striding it out” as he was coming towards me. He ran with large, bounding strides. I realized he was mentally handicapped (I’m not sure the best way to word that, so I’m sorry if it’s not super PC), and he was just out enjoying a run. I smiled as I met him, but he didn’t notice me - I think he was running hard and trying to show-off for the students filling the sidewalk outside of the school.

A few blocks later, I hit my turn-around point, and turned to head back towards home.

About 1 block past the school, I came upon the same man that was running hard before, only now he was walking quite slow. He was way off to one side of the large sidewalk, and he turned to watch me run up behind him. He was smiling. I smiled and said “hi” as I ran past.

The next thing I know, he’s started running, and he has run past me! He’s keeping my pace, running about 5 feet to the left/front of me. (At this point in my run, I’m running about 6:10 - 6:20 pace.) He’s grinning ear-to-ear, and constantly looking over his shoulder at me. I smiled back.

“How are you?” I ask.

He answers with one word, full of enthusiasm: “RUNNING!!...”

I thought that was a great response! A block later, we came up on someone walking. The man running with me was fading, and I had to quickly jump in front of him to pass the woman who was walking. He laughed, and then stopped to walk. I smiled as I ran off.

I don’t think he meant his statement to be as profound as I’m making it, but I thought about what he said. “Yeah, how bad CAN I be: I’m out on a run! Life must good: I’m taking time out of my day for a run! What cares can I have: I’M OUT ON A RUN!!”

So if you ever ask me “How are you?” don’t be surprised if I respond with “Well, I’m RUNNING, so all is well!!"


Gabriel Losa 8:37 AM, May 12, 2009  

Great answer!
Sums up everything!

libgyrl 8:59 AM, May 12, 2009  

I think you are on to something with the profundity, Steve. It is easy for many of us (or maybe just me) to forget how really great it is that we CAN go out for a run.

Graham 9:03 AM, May 12, 2009  

I love this - thank you for sharing, and the reminder...

Irish Cream 10:38 AM, May 12, 2009  

That was a really great post, Steve! Thanks for sharing that story--it has really helped me to gain some perspective! I will definitely keep it in mind when I'm having a bad run :)

Sun Runner 10:48 AM, May 12, 2009  

Speaking as a person with a sibling with Down syndrome, using the phrase "mentally handicapped" is totally fine. Doesn't ruffle my feathers none. :)

And I agree; if I'm out for a run, all is well with the world.

I better hang on to that attitude because Sunday morning I'm running a marathon (Cleveland Marathon) and I'm sure I'm going to get very disgruntled somewhere along the way.

Tammy 10:55 AM, May 12, 2009  

Aww, what a terrific attitude. Love it!

Unknown 10:59 AM, May 12, 2009  

That's great. What a great response.

Marit C-L 11:08 AM, May 12, 2009  

What a terrific post, Steve! Thanks for sharing :)

The (IRON) Clyde 11:31 AM, May 12, 2009  

Did he look like this?


Anonymous,  11:44 AM, May 12, 2009  

That was a great response!

Unknown 12:11 PM, May 12, 2009  

Now that was awesome! It had to be so cool to connect with him like that. Running really is the best!

Jess 12:49 PM, May 12, 2009  

Great story and so true!

Leah 2:22 PM, May 12, 2009  

Love this post. Thanks for sharing it. Good to remember!

Run For Life 2:51 PM, May 12, 2009  

That's such a great story, thanks!

Anonymous,  2:58 PM, May 12, 2009  

That's so great! And definitely something to keep in mind during runs that hurt. Any day you can run is a good day!

Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 4:16 PM, May 12, 2009  

Sometimes the best lessons we learn come to us in interestingly wrapped packages.

Sarah 5:53 PM, May 12, 2009  

So, he was running like Phoebe on Friends? Best episode ever.

Jen 6:10 PM, May 12, 2009  

This is great! Thanks for sharing this! Life is good!

RoadBunner 6:45 PM, May 12, 2009  

Oh, I LOVE this post! Totally made me smile.

Lindsay 7:15 PM, May 12, 2009  

love this! thanks for sharing the experience. definitely the attitude i need to have more often!

Calyx Meredith 7:45 PM, May 12, 2009  

Oh thank you!! I'm going to carry this story in my head (heart?) for those times when I forget what it's all about.

Michelle 7:58 PM, May 12, 2009  

Awesome awesome post!!!

Thanks Steve Stenzel!!!

Marlene 8:15 PM, May 12, 2009  

I LOVE that. The next time someone asks how I am, I may just yell RUNNING! Thanks for sharing.

X-Country2 10:55 PM, May 12, 2009  

What a great story. RUNNING!!!

jen 11:44 PM, May 12, 2009  

Ok, it might just be a side effect of watching the emotional rollercoaster that is the Biggest Loser right now, but that made me teary. Great story.

Ryan 5:49 AM, May 13, 2009  

I can't believe you called me mentally handicapped...I was just out of breath.

teacherwoman 6:35 AM, May 13, 2009  

That is too awesome!

Coming from a Special Education teacher, your terminoligy was PC. Some say mentally challenged... I know a lot of states are trying to get rid of the R word.

Sam 9:10 AM, May 13, 2009  

That's AWESOME!! Thanks for the smile that post has given me!! :)

Great blog btw..

greyhound 9:23 AM, May 13, 2009  

You met the real life spirit of Forrest Gump, and as in fiction, he had something to teach us.

Amy 9:55 AM, May 13, 2009  

Love this. "Running!" He was truly happy doing it, too.

kate 10:04 AM, May 13, 2009  

Great story!

You and Pharmie have such great blogs! My hubby and I run and race together as well.

Keep RUNNING--and enjoying every minute of it :o).

chia 10:45 AM, May 13, 2009  

Fantastic post -- that should install a permagrin everytime I run now :-). Thanks Steve!

B. Kramer 12:18 PM, May 13, 2009  

And that is why it is profound.

The Boring Runner 7:42 PM, May 13, 2009  

I love it. I hope that he had a good run.

Julie 9:28 PM, May 13, 2009  

Awesome! I love the "have no cares in the world" attitude of the mentally challenged. I have worked in the pool with MC people in the past and it was some of the best experiences I've had!

Anonymous,  9:38 PM, May 13, 2009  

Just found your blog- love this post....VERY inspiring-thanks!

it's all about pace 1:48 PM, May 14, 2009  

well put... by him and keen observation and application by you. Something we'd all do well to remember...

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