Saturday, April 9, 2011

How Steve Runner helped me get my groove back

You know, I was guarded about my past for a long time – if you don’t know what I am talking about click here.

Anyway, my mother always listened to talk radio and I guess I picked up the habit.  When I worked at the Columbia House Record and Tape Club (yeah, the 10 CD’s for a penny place) you could not bring CD’s or cassette tapes into work.  We had a warehouse full of them and this was to deter theft.  But you could bring a radio to work.  When I started there I worked a graveyard shift.  I started listening to talk radio again. 

This got me hooked to spoken word.  After I started running I would listen to books on tape.  It was a great way to absorb information and get exercise.  I remember running with tape players and CD players.  The tape players were better because they didn’t skip. 

However, I only listened to these when I ran alone.  Most of my morning runs were with my wife.  These runs were our time together.  It was 5 miles every weekday morning.  A nice comfortable, conversational pace.  I’m still a social runner.

After the accident, I couldn’t run anymore.  I was physically able to but I did not have anyone with me.  I tried it days after and it was a failure.  The runs would end in tears and a long walk back to the house.  I was trying.  I was failing.

Later, I moved across the country.  I was smoking and not exercising much.  I was still lost.  I had bought a MP3 player in the last year and started to discover podcasts.

One of the first was Phedippidations.  Steve Runner had started the podcast the month before the accident.  I started listening a year later.  I remember queuing up the most recent podcast and heading out the door.  Although I did not make it very far it gave me someone to run with.  I started to run a little more and listen a little more.


Steve Runner became my running partner.  I listened to all of the episodes (even that very first one).  I anxiously waited for the new episodes.  Steve graciously promoted other podcasts and I made new friends.  I actually remember being upset when Steve briefly decided to discontinue doing the podcast.  Thankfully he reconsidered.

This new media encouraged me.  Steve was a guy just like me – running and rambling about life.  He did not hold punches, he was smart and he was funny.  We did not always agree on every subject but that was okay.  In fact, it was probably better.  We had a mutual respect for each other.

Over the years the parts that I have enjoyed the most are the playful banter between Steve and his son John Michael.  The teasing and gentle ribbing remind me of the relationship I had with my daughter.  Steve understands the importance of this relationship with his son.  He treats it with the value that it deserves.  I miss those times with my daughter but I can still enjoy them through Steve Runner.

Now, I have more friends to run with than you can shake a stick at.  In fact, I can’t run the number of miles necessary to run with them all.

I am not saying that I would not be running without Steve Runner but he certainly made the transition back to running easier.  For this I am very thankful.

Steve – I will be running the 115th Boston Marathon.  If you are in the area I will be happy to buy the Sam Adams.


Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration. I read your previous story and it had me in tears from the beginning. You are a brave, brave person for sharing that story and this story as well.

Ransick said...

Powerful stuff James. I cried the whole time I read your story. You have tremendous mental toughness and drive to come back from that. I'm not sure I could.

Thanks for sharing your story. As Shelby said, you are an inspiration.

Tri-James said...

Shelby / Mike -

I cry too - someone once told me (from the blog-o-sphere no less) that you don't know how strong you can be until you are forced to be strong. We are all tough as nails.

Lindsay said...

I'd love to know if Steve does find you though this :)

I can never forget first reading your story a few months ago. I think of you often and hope you know you can turn to your blog-buddies anytime you need something