Ron Marinucci November Column: "Running Thoughts"

Ron Marinucci November Column: "Running Thoughts"

I’m trying to evaluate my running of this summer and early fall. From July through August, I struggled with the heat and, especially humidity. I’m sure most if not all runners did, too. We have nothing but anecdotal evidence and our gut feelings, but my running buddy Bob Drapal and I agree. This was, if not the most humid of summers, at least the most humid in recent memory.

I know I’ve stuffed my running shoes with newspaper far more frequently than ever. Usually I only do that after a rain to help them dry out before their next run.

If I longed for rain if only to cram my shoes with old newspapers (and I surely did not!), my hopes would have been answered by the seemingly incessant downpours and showers off late September and October. Normally I don’t mind running in the rain, not at all. I think that’s because I sweat so heavily I’m all wet no matter. But with such frequent rain, often downpours not just showers, two days was not enough time to thoroughly dry my shoes. I’ll toss in the mud puddles which never seemed to completely disappear from the trails, back roads, and shoulders. I didn’t even mind walking with Andy in the wet stuff. No, it was the toweling, again and again, before Karen would let him (and me?) back in the house.

Perhaps oddly, I’m looking forward to winter running. It will soon be here, likely before we know it. In fact, the last Monday in October there was “frost on the punkin,” as well as car windshields, house roofs, and lawns. But cold weather, even sub-zero temperatures, has never really bother me much. And running in the snow, especially freshly fallen, has always been a treat for me—so beautiful.

The past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with thoughts on the run, too. In fact, they seem to dominate my running. Is it just me or is it louder, as in much noisier, than ever? Yes, I mean while running, but also in general. Some cars, small ones not of the muscle variety, sound like I’m running at or near Detroit Dragway. {How many remember that? “Sunday! At Detroit Dragway…..”] Just this AM, as I ran back home I could hear such a car and knew it was a small one. It was approaching me from the rear. As it neared there was a slower car that forced a deceleration. With that came so many loud backfires I thought I was running in the middle of the Gunfight at the OK Corral! I almost shouted, “Easy! I’m not a Clanton. I’m not an Earp.” How many times in recent months have I half jumped into culverts and lawns when startled from behind by the Indianapolis 500?

If I run a bit later in the day, my ears are assaulted by lawn mowers, more and more of which seem to have airplane engines. All this makes me even more grateful for my two or three trail runs each week.

It’s not a problem, but I seem to hear more and more gunshots while on my run, more than past years. I’m not at all opposed to hunting, although I don’t hunt myself. I haven’t fired a rifle in 50 years or so. I think it’s turkey and small game season.

Usually I only stay away from the woods/trails during deer hunting season, from mid- to the end of November. That’s OK. This year, the more frequent gunshots have kept me away from the trails open to hunting earlier than usual. That’s OK, too.

Over the past few weeks, as people begin to congregate again, I have been confronted with a question that has always perplexed me. I’ve been asked it often. Sometimes it’s straight-out. “How can you run so much? It’s so boring.” Sometimes in an equivalent, almost an excuse. “I don’t run because it’s so boring.” I remain baffled by such sentiments.

How, I wonder, can a person be “bored” with his/her own thoughts? I rarely use the word, bored or boring, in any context of my life. I may not like doing something, but that’s not the same as being bored. On a run, there is so much to think about, whether frivolous or more serious, personal or more widespread.

Running solo or with Bob, I don’t know how many times we’ve changed the world, saving it from itself. On the other hand, how enjoyable to think about the laughs and memories of yesteryear. Bored while running? Never.

By the way, I’ve already pulled out my supply of long sleeve tees and running pants. I even wore gloves one AM! Winter is on the way. I am excited.