I came to a really important realization while running on Sunday morning: if I had to choose one song to be the only song I could listen to for the rest of my life, if would be this one:
This came up because it came on as I was nearing the end of my run and as it started, I realized not only how perfect it is but also how it gives me goosebumps every single time. Especially when Moonie’s drums come in. Good old Moonie. This video doesn’t give you the full effect, exactly, with Roger on harmonica instead of the studio version’s fiddle part (I know that sort of reads like Roger played the fiddle on the studio version, which he didn’t, so that’s not what I’m trying to say), but it still gets the point across. Anyway, I’m done geeking out about music now. On to the running.
Training this past week (this is week 2 of 6 of my training to get speedy for a 5k in May) is kind of weird to talk about. I’m still not really sure how to approach it. I’ve actually been sitting here for a half hour trying to figure out what to say, and I’ve written and rewritten and started from scratch several times now. I guess things kind of split into two categories: before Thursday and after Thursday. I’ve already commented on the two runs I did before Thursday. I guess I’ll move on to the runs I did after Thursday.
First, to state the inevitable: my mother called me shortly after 9 a.m. on Thursday to tell me my granddad passed away. The rest of that day was a bit of a blur, and I skipped the hill workout I had planned to do in order to travel to Philadelphia to be closer to friends and family. By the time Friday rolled around, I was itching to run or exercise in some way just to clear my head a little bit and sort of turn off my thoughts. That evening I biked 5 miles and ran around 3.2 (this was one of my 2-5 mile easy runs) at the gym in Philly. I felt marginally better afterwards, but it hadn’t been the best day and sometimes there’s only so much that endorphins can do.
I skipped Saturday and headed out Sunday for a longer run. I ended up doing about 7.2 miles at a 9:20ish pace, which felt really good. I thought about my granddad the whole time. When he was in high school, he ran on the track team. The first time he told me this was after I joined the high school track team. My granddad and I shared a lot of experiences: fishing, hiking, driving (he used to let me shift gears in his pickup truck when I was really young)…but for some reason I felt like our connection in being runners was the strongest. He told me about the running uniforms, the racing flats, and his best distances. I think a large part of the reason I choose to race so often in Philadelphia is because it makes me feel closer to him as a runner. I guess there’s just something about running that sort of brings people together in a unique way.
So on Sunday I ran in celebration of my granddad. The fog I felt I’d been in over the past few days lifted a bit and the pain of the loss eased slightly. When Baba O’Riley came on, (and this is cheesy, so prepare yourselves) my heart lifted, and I genuinely smiled for what felt like the first time in a few days. I’ve always thought about my granddad while running. I don’t think I’ve run a single mile without thinking about him. Every time the reality of the fact that he’s now gone hits me (and it’s surprising how many times it hits, and how it still hasn’t sunk in), I take comfort in the fact that for the rest of my life, I’ll still have running, and through that, I’ll always have him.
I do wish, though, that I could remember what his best racing distances were. One thing I know he told me: he was the anchor of his relay team when they raced in the Penn Relays. One thing I want to tell him: I love you and I miss you.