Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nerves of Steel

Yeah... I ain't got em.

It was the first soccer game of my varsity career. I was starting at central defender against a reasonably inferior opponent. Our team took an early two goal lead, on a beautiful august afternoon. To this point in the game I was playing reasonably well, which is to say that the team we were playing was so bad that I didn't have to do very much defending. Still. I was pretty nervous and remember hoping the ball would stay away from me. And sure enough, that's not what happened.

My friend Mike misplayed a ball and ended up kicking it over my head. The ball was bouncing in front of me as I raced back to catch it, sprinting in the direction of my own goal. I finally caught up to the ball, and heard the words of my teammates behind me yelling "Time", soccer code for safe from defenders, giving you time to settle the ball and look around. Having heard the "Time" call, I let the ball fall on my thigh, attempting to bring the ball down to my feet, at which point those voices that once calmly shouted time shifted to urgent calls of "Man On!", soccer code for there's an asshole right behind you. In a panic, in an attempt to kick the ball away from the opposing player behind me, I slammed my right foot into that ball sending it flying.

And just like that, I scored my first varsity goal.

I recall having just enough time to look up to see said ball flying over my own goalies head, and screaming into the goal I was tasked to defend.

And I remembered this little pearl from my athletic career after being confronted with the idea of being nervous in various aspects of my life. Between my own nervousness about a pending commitment I have, and several of my friends confiding in me there own feelings of things approaching in their lives.

Having finished my own races this fall, I am blessed with the ability to sit back and enjoy the remaining races that those around me are running. And you might ask what exactly that looks like. It essentially looks like eating whatever I want, running whenever I want, and just generally laughing at all race induced anxiety as it pops up in those around me.

Cause, I'll be honest, I like to pretend that I have answers or advice to a lot of things in this world, but anxiety, or nerves, certainly is not one of them. But that's okay, because, quite frankly, I don't believe there is an answer.

Because no matter how irrational this anxiety might be, no matter how well prepared you are for the race, or the test, or that first date, you'll still be nervous. And I'm not even sure that's such a bad thing.

In my opinion, it shows you care. It shows that you've put enough on the line to feel nervous about the outcome.

I don't know about anyone else, but when I look back at the times I felt that twinge in my stomach, were also the times that I risked the most. And for me those moments aren't the obvious ones, the playing fields, the starting line, or even the first dates. For me they extend to those other periods of my life where words like "nervous" and "anxiety" surrounded things as simple as walking outside my house.

So I don't know, maybe those feelings are a good thing. Maybe they aren't the enemy of life, but rather the mile makers by which we gauge just how far we are pushing the envelope.

So maybe that's the question for the day...

When was the last time you truly felt nervous?

Monday, October 24, 2011

A guide to running in the cold

So it's getting close to that time of year. The leaves are dropping steadily from the trees, and that running partner you've been used to for the past months, the sun, seems to be bailing on you earlier and earlier. And as this seasonal change approaches, I tend to get asked this question of how I run in the winter. People will ask me if I stick to the treadmill, or ask me if I will run at all.

So, for those who care, here is my own guide to running in the cold...

***Please note, all of the advice given is from someone who drinks milk before a marathon, refuses to wear black running shoes, has recently run in a yellow prom dress, and who's latest injury came from running into a car... A.K.A the advice should be regarded as highly questionable.***

1. Clothing

So it's getting cold, and those shorts you have been wearing just aren't cutting it anymore. And give it a few more weeks and the transition to running pants or tights will need to be officially made. But, for so many of us who run in the early morning hours, we know that even that pair of pants isn't enough to keep us warm. So what might you ask, could possibly be warmer than running in a pair of pants? Let me answer that with two words...

"Double Pants"

That's right, double pants. That's two times the pants, people.

Now I know many of you are reading this and saying... "Now hold on a second, Colameco! I've heard of double socks, or double shirt, or even double breakfast (shout out to Old Man Colameco), but double pants?!?!"

To this doubting soul, I say... I was once like you. I was once like you, holding fast to the ideals of single panthood. But there came a time, a dark time in my life (5:15am in Fishtown to be exact), where I had to make the tough decisions, decisions I wouldn't wish on anyone. And it was in that moment where preconceived notions of appropriate pantwear paled in comparison to the necessity of comfort and survival.

So I, like many, did what I had to. And I'm proud to say, given the chance, I'll do it again.

I can't promise I'll know when that first bitterly cold morning will meet us, but I can promise, on that morning, I'll be meeting it with double pants.

2. White Snow/Brown Snow

I can't say this plainly enough... Stick to the white snow!

3. Running in the snow

Now up until this moment in the guide, I have been rather cautious. But when it comes to running in the snow, I couldn't recommend it more.

I'll tell you there is nothing quite like heading out in the early evening as a snowfall is just beginning. Watching the snow flakes float down in the soft glow of the city streetlamps. The sidewalks are just beginning to dust over, but are still clear enough for you feet to strike. And perhaps my favorite part comes not from the beauty of it, but the calming quiet that comes with the snow. The city just seems to come to a pause, as though someone looking down had some kind of remote control. People, cars, buses, seem to move to different pace, and time seems to stop. It really is a magical experience.

4. Ice Ice Baby

So growing up I had a best friend named Tim. And one of the games Tim and I liked to play was a game called "Beat Up Dan". Although in retrospect this was less of a game and more a case where Tim would... what's the phrase... beat me up. But I do recall that Tim would frequently utter a phrase mid-game along the lines of "The sooner you accept it, the easier it'll be."

That is essentially how I feel about ice.

Bottomline, you're gonna slip and fall at some point. The sooner you accept that it's gonna happen, the easier it will be.

If you, hypothetically, accept that at some point you are gonna wipe out in front of... oh I don't know... a group of four hot, young, Penn students as they make their way down Broad Street, the easier that slip will be... maybe not on your hips, but definitely your ego.

Strictly hypothetical though...

5. Don't be that guy

This is pretty standard advice.

For guys it includes the proper usage of running tights. Let's be honest, they aren't for everyone, but if you feel compelled let's get the sizing correct. I don't know about anyone else, but if I wanted to see bouncing balls I'd go to the toy store... I don't need to see yours bouncing by Lloyd Hall.

And let's go easy on the fluorescent colors. I do understand the need to be seen at night, but there's a fine line between reflective gear and a costume from the movie Tron.

6. Own the crazy

So last but not least, let me put this out there. It takes a certain type of crazy to run all winter. By all accounts we should be inside, singing "Baby it's Cold Outside" while watching sentimental movies and drinking hot chocolate. But we don't stay in, we go out and run.

So own that. Own that it's a little nuts. Own those looks you get from pedestrians or car passengers as that 50 mph gust of wind almost blows you clear across Market St. Own your fingers as they slowly, yet painfully go numb, and then own them again when you finish and the feeling slowly, yet painfully comes back. Own the snow, and the sleet, and the freezing rain. And most of all own that you are doing what is hard. That you are stepping out into the cold, when the rest of the population is pulling up the covers.

Own that when given the choice between easy and hard, you chose hard. And that, in my opinion, is pretty fucking cool...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Randomness, and an attempt at wisdom

The following is a random collection of thoughts...

Training plans are a lot like a bout of diarrhea, sucks when you have it, but when it's gone at least part of you misses the regularity.

Better to be one GU too many, than one GU short.

If the finish line is the part that's most fun... you're doing it wrong.

Fall was invented for runners.

The word "single" and "alone" are not synonymous.

The line between stubbornness and perseverance seems subjective.

Running at night on "The Loop" is a lot like being in prison, very few entrances, metal benches, creepy people stare at you, and you are just praying not to get raped.

That even a man running 13 minute miles, has something to offer the man running 14 minute miles.

I hope everyone knows I make this shit up as I go along.

If you don't like the answer, change the question.

The biggest difference between the day after getting hit by a car, and the day after a marathon is that your nipples only hurt after one.

Sometimes the best advice is to "Do nothing."

It seems the best way to find out where you are heading, is to admit you are lost.

That love can be as simple as showing up.

The person I have lied to the most in my life has always been myself.

If broken bones heal stronger, what does that say about broken people?

Runner's spend more time analyzing the color of their pee than any other group on earth.

The times that I got myself into the most trouble were also the times I was 100% sure I was right.

You haven't experienced Chinatown until you've experience Chinatown on a trash morning in July.

Remember the movie "Good Burger"?

The most important question I've ever asked myself is "What if I am wrong?".

Life changing moments don't always have to occur in your life. Sometimes, merely witnessing them in others is enough.

Out of all of my regrets from failed relationships, sweatshirts may rank the highest.

Give the choice between feeling good and doing good, I'd like to think I'd take the latter.

There are some people who love running, and some people who love when they are finished. I think I love both.

Someone one day will have to explain to me how a hand drawing of Teddy Roosevelt in crayon markers means more to me than half my race medals.

I like my running shoes like I like my women, in pairs with plenty of cushion... or maybe more accurately... I like my running shoes like I like my women, quiet, and probably in need of replacement.

When it comes to doing the right thing, I tend to get tripped up on the "doing" more than the "right".

I've never been alone.

Having faith is more about believing in something greater than yourself, than the specific thing you believe in.

Freedom exists, whether we acknowledge it or not.

A wise man once said "Running is cheaper than therapy.", clearly he's never signed up for a Rock N' Roll race.

There's a name for people who win races... I call them "assholes".

I'm most grateful, not for merely having friends, but having friends who understand me before I understand myself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mistakes

So I spent some time this morning talking with a runner that I respect very much. An older runner who has quite a bit of experience with both racing and training. And I guess that's why I found it so therapeutic to listen to him describe the terrible run he had the night before.

The story began in a way that most of us can relate to, and with a brief recap of the preceding circumstances that usually lead to an awful run when the collision of these two things occur. The convergence of a training plan and a busy schedule.

This man, and father explain the nights events, a combination of a wife out of town, guitar and cello lessons, and a teenage daughter. He narrates the story, eventually coming to the phrase "a couple beers, and french fries."... then he tells me about the run.

As you can imagine the following six miles didn't go very well for my friend. And the two of us laughed a bit, cracking up at the mistake of attempting this ill conceived, or at least, ill planned run. And somewhere I felt a little better.

I felt a little bit better, cause quite frankly, this wasn't a great week for me. And, I don't know, something about hearing a man laugh about this mistake provided, although brief, a small change in perspective.

Because, by all accounts, this man should have known better. He should, and does, know better than to drink a few beers and fill up on french fries before a six mile run. And while it may not have seemed like the best idea at the time, he still went for it. And he'll be the first one to admit that this was a mistake that could have been easily avoided. We still, never the less, we were able to laugh this mistake off as harmless.

But as I walked away from this conversation, I couldn't help but let my mind go back to my own mistake, one that I couldn't claim to be so harmless.

And I know that mistakes happen, and I'm under no delusion that there are people in the world, perfect people, who walk around never making them.

Having said that, it still sucks. It just sucks cause sometimes these mistakes aren't so harmless. Sometimes I wish all mistakes were as easy as the ones we make while running. Where "going out too fast" is self correcting, and a stomach full of fries is remedied by a trip to the bathroom (or two). Because these non-running mistakes are slightly more challenging. Those mistakes that are more serious, the mistakes that have faces and names attached to them.

And those are a little harder to stomach. And while I know that I'm not perfect, and I'll never stop making them, the one thought that lingers isn't so much that I made this particular mistake, but rather that I made this particular mistake again.

I should probably apologize for keeping this blog so vague. But I guess, I just needed to say all of this out loud.

Because as hard as it is to face this mistake, it's infinitely harder to face when you know you've made it so many times before. And despite the fact that I know, I'll always make them, I can't exactly lie and speak about progress, or at least progress as I define it.

You see, progress to me is not to say that I've made less mistakes, but rather to say that I've made different ones. I'll never be perfect, and I'll inevitably screw up from time to time, I know that. And, and in a way, I'm okay with that, I guess I just wish I would screw up a little differently next time. Especially when these mistakes have names, faces and eyes that stare back you. Which is why this blog is just one long way of me saying something rather simple and direct.

I just want to make new mistakes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Magic Word

"Oh, I can't run a marathon."

"Well, no, no you can't."

My words seems to catch them off guard. There eyes peer back at me, thrown off by the harshness of my answer. But believe me when I say that my response was calculated, because, quite frankly, I'm right. When people say to me that they can't run a marathon, I tell them they are correct. And before you start reading into this too much, and think this is some kind of "Karate Kid" like mental game, and I'm saying "you cannot run one until you believe you can" nonsense, let me stop you. It's not a trick, and it's not a complex answer... well, not really. The reason for my response is not due to what the words are saying, but rather the words they've chosen. Well, really, it's the lack of a word, of one word.

Yet.

You see, the reason I tell people they can't run a marathon when they say that is because it's true. And guess what? It's been true for everyone who has ever run a marathon, from the fastest world record holder on down the line. Of all the universal truths about those who have completed a marathon, the one that unites us all is that at one point, we all couldn't.

Look, in my opinion, marathoners are some of the whiniest people on this planet. Too often do I hear the feat of running a marathon likened to some kind of superhuman act. It's not. And those who talk about as though it were make it seem as though it is only for a select few, and create the notion of elitism that surrounds the race. Which is not to say that it's easy, it's not. But it's my opinion, an opinion that comes only from my experience, anyone who truly wants to can run one.

But the truth is, this entry is not about running a marathon. It's not about how hard or easy it is, or anything else. It's not about what it takes, or doesn't. No, this entry is not about running a marathon. But rather a lesson learned as a result.

Which brings me back to that word. That simple three letter word that makes all the difference in the world.

Yet.


And the things I can't do, and the things I can't do, yet. And where exactly the line falls.


You see I spent some time this past week with some people currently grappling with the idea of "impossible". I spent some time in a place were that word was brought up quite a few times.

Now, having just re-read that it sounds much more dramatic than it was. But, having been in that place, like any good self-centered person like myself, it caused me to think about my own feelings on the subject. My own feelings on "impossible".

And now before you prepare yourself to read some cliched, eternally optimistic rant on how impossible doesn't exist, let me say that's not where I am heading. Because, I do believe in impossible. Just maybe not in the sense that I once did.

Cause as I sit here, I can look back on my life, through it's various ups and downs and recall the many things I would have stated to you were impossible at the time.

The simple, from making a grilled cheese as good as my fathers, to that I'd ever not want to wear my favorite red elephant sweatshirt that my mom would have to wash while i slept. That theyd ever make a video game system better than Nintendo or that Id ever be able to get over my first love (Mrs. O'Reilly, if you are reading this please resist the urge to de-friend me on Facebook.).

But then of course, there are the other things. The other things that aren't quite as simple.

That there would ever be a day that I wouldn't be the child my parents worried about, or that the idea of being an older brother wouldn't merely be a technicality or a matter of age. That the sound of the alarm clock wouldn't be the end of something but rather the beginning or That I would ever be able to believe that tomorrow might be better than today.

And if I'm honest, the reality is, that in each of these instances, in those moments, they were all true. That, at that time, those things, no matter how big or small, were impossible.

"Oh, I can't run a marathon... yet."

And I guess, after sitting here thinking about this concept of impossible, I came to some kind of realization, or at least some kind of compromise. That for as much as this optimist wants to say that "impossible" is a lie, I can't.

But maybe it's temporary.

Maybe "impossible" is temporary. That the things that seem impossible today, may not be impossible tomorrow. And maybe when I look at that list of things I can't do, I pay too much attention to things still written, instead of the things already crossed off.

And maybe the answer to the question is that simple. Maybe it's just that simple to say, I don't know all the answers...

Yet.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten

The Top Ten Signs You've Had a Good Race

10. You are still applying body glide and it's Tuesday.
9. You're wearing more Gatorade than you've consumed.
8. After adding up your toenails you get an odd number.
7. The most satisfying relationship in your current life is with your shower.
6. If you can't find any of the following... Your keys, your cell phone, or your way to a bathroom.
5. When even Lemon Lime GU tastes great.
4. When somehow going downstairs hurts more than going upstairs.
3. Your first name is Chakir
2. When everyone really wants to hug you... and no one really wants to hug you.
1. You fucking finish.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Duh... Winning

So, we've all had the experience. You're standing around the start of a race, stretching, talking, etc., and you're eyes begin to survey the collection of runners doing the same. And, if you are like me, you begin to size them up. You check them out, rating them on an odd points system; +1 for a singlet, +10 if the singlet has a college or running company on it, -5 for a water belt, +2 for warm-up striders, -10 for vibrams, +5 for racing flats, -15 for a bib on the back.. etc.

It's usually about this time that a figure emerges from the group.

Right about the time you start to think, "I wonder which one of these racers will win the race?", they walk by.

"Oh.. him."

You and your friends can't help but stare as he walks by.

"He's so tall..."

"He's so thin..."

"He's so... Kenyan."

You take your place amongst the throngs of people as the race is kicked off. You take your first strides over the starting line, and in the distance you can just make out the trail of this runner disappearing out ahead of you.

A few minutes or hours later (depending on the race), right around the same time that you are contemplating the most effective modes of suicide you will see this gentleman again. You're wincing eyes will lock on to him as he jogs effortless backwards on the course, out for a "cool down", which is a term fast people use, stemming, I believe, from the greek phrase "Fasterius than your assius."

And there he or she is, the winner of the race.

Right?

Cause you see, we have a pretty easy time picking the winner in our sport. It's not like figure skating where one can spend hours arguing the finer points of a triple lutz, or whether her artistic program truly captured the essence of the soundtrack to "Pirates of the Carribean". Hell, most of us have been doing this since we were young.

"When I say 'Go', first one to touch the garage door wins. On your mark, get set, go."

It's that simple, right?

First one to cross the finish line, wins, whether it's a garage door, a playground swing set, or, in the case of this past weekend, a painted line in downtown Scranton, at the end of the Steamtown Marathon. 

Peter Kemboi- "2:19:26"

You're first place finisher for the 2011 Steamtown Marathon.

Now, I'll be honest, I only saw this man on the course for a few fleeting seconds. And, I'll also admit, that I did not see him finish. But, I will say, having been in Scranton that morning, I still contend that I saw the winner finish.

And to take nothing away from Mr. Kemboi, but the winner I saw left not with a plaque or a check, but a red drawstring bag and an empty Gatorade bottle. He wasn’t whisked away by his coach to a car and taken to the airport for a flight back home. The winner I saw, climbed in the back of a Honda SUV driven by his mother, and taken twenty minutes down the road to the house he grew up in. The winner I saw never broke a six minute mile, and never led the race. He wasn’t given access to the elite room before the start of the race, and his picture won’t be appearing underneath any headlines. And he isn’t tall, or Kenyan, he’s my friend Matt.

But to have been there, to have watched my friend Matt finish in the way he did, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had been wrong all along with what winning truly looked like.

Luckily, for once, you don’t have to take my word for it…


So take a look at these pictures my dad took after the race, and tell me if you don’t leave wondering too, if a $2,000 check even comes close to what Matt won that day…

Friday, October 7, 2011

Second Chances

So it seems like this idea of second chances has been following me around lately. I don't know if it's from watching the baseball playoffs, or the fact that one of my students keeps blurting out the word "poop" and then asking for a second chance to NOT say that word. Regardless, everywhere I go, I seem to run back into this concept. And whether by accident or subconscious design, it coincides with my second race of the fall.

Which then led me to think about how second chances relate to running. And the answer seems pretty obvious. I mean, running, is something we can do almost every day. So a bad run, is only a day away from being a good run. And that bad race you had can so easily exit your memory when you cross the finish line of a good one. And yet, what seems so easy about this, begs me to wonder if perhaps I'm missing something, something deeper about these second chances.

So I spend some time thinking about my own experiences. My own history of second chances. I think about when my third grade teacher would let me re-take that one spelling test I neglected to study for (okay... so that maaaaay have happened more than once.). I think about girlfriends I've had, and the second chances I needed there, ("you mean, when I called you 'stumpy', that wasn't as cute as I meant it?"). And I think about times people asked me to come back and hang out with them, which may seem like no big deal, unless you've walked a mile in my shoes.

So these memories run through my head, these times where the second chances were used wisely (Lindsay DiLullo, wherever you are, I never called you stumpy again.), and those times where they weren't (please don't make me take anymore spelling tests.).

And I also work through the times that I wanted a second chance, and didn't get one. Moments of contrition and the type of humility the accompanies the need to ask, moments that I'm not so proud of.

And I guess it's after examining my own history that an alternate view of "second chances" began to take shape.

That maybe the grace of a second chance isn't merely as simple as getting another try, and then again, maybe it is. That maybe, second chances aren't about getting it right this time, but getting it righter (yes, I know, spelling/grammar joke.). That maybe, on this road we travel, of the many things to ask for, second chances may be the only thing. And that maybe second chances are only given by one person, you.

For as much as we may want them, as many times as we may ask for them, once they are given, it's just you and what you do with them. And maybe it's in that simplicity that I find what I like best (Because quite frankly, I can complicate the shit out of anything.). It's the simplicity of saying, "This time, I'm gonna try my best.", when you realize that's really all any of us can ever ask for. That all I can ever hope for, is another chance to try my best.

Cause it really is as simple as lining up to try that race again, or treating that next friend a little better, or (I can't believe I'm saying this), not saying the word "Poop" this period. And look, maybe we will succeed in what we are attempting to do better, and maybe we won't. But maybe the most unexpected aspect about second chances, is that whether we fail or succeed, there is always one left.

The second chance to ask for a third.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How I got here; Part One

I guess it's a little ironic to think about how this whole running thing started for me. It seems odd to acknowledge that the origin of it was not from a strong desire to start running, but rather something quite the opposite.

A sprained ankle.

Now in the course of every running career, there will exist a wide multitude of types and variances. Each runner will have their own log of miles, whether they are marathons, 5ks, or just your basic training run. But within these infinite possibilities, there is one experience that each runner shares in common.

Their first run.

Mine, as I mentioned before, began with a sprain.

A few weeks earlier, I had been asked by a friend to go play on his soccer team. I jumped at the chance, because I had always been a soccer player. Well, actually, there should be more emphasis on the "BEEN a soccer player". Because, in all honesty, it had been quite some time since I played, and more accurately it had been quite some time since I had done any sort of athletic activity. So it's not hard to imagine that after two minutes in the game, my stat line read 0 goals, 0 assists, and 1 sprained ankle. And perhaps most accurate, one more failed attempt.

You see, this was a time in my life more defined by the things that passed me by, more than anything else. This was the part of my story where, having walked out of the rubble of the plane crash I had just survived, I turned to see the flames behind me and overwhelmed with the wreck before me, closed my eyes.

And ironically, again, that's where the story of my first run begins, with opening my eyes...

The alarm clock wails against the light blue walls reflecting the early morning February sun. The boy's eye's squint open, glaring through a haze of confusion at the neon digits of the clock radio. Then, slowly, disrupted sleep gives way to clarity, and the boy regains his bearings.

He steps out of the navy blue sheets and comforter, bouncing tip toed across the frigid floor beneath his feet. He silences the alarm and moves over the pristine folded clothing laid out by him the night before. A long white pair of running shorts are slipped on, matched by a long sleeve zip-up shirt. A pair of old Nike sneakers are plucked from the closet, a small series of maroon paint stains serving as a reminder of their age.

He steps out onto his parents porch, the unforgiving cold air wisps around him. He thumbs the play button, and heads off down the stairs. He winds along the suburban sidewalks, navigating the narrow paths of shoveled snow.

His lungs burn as each breath fills them with another dose of winter. He politely nods or waves as he goes, passing dog walkers and neighbors beginning their morning commute. He reaches the predetermined turnaround point, and begins to head back, wondering if two miles would feel this long every time.

A small bead of sweat trickles down from beneath the ear warmer wrapping his head as he strides into his driveway. He paces back and forth, spanning the length of it, attempting to catch his breath. He checks the time on his iPod, and with a smile realizes he's late.

And that was it.

That was my first run. Two rather uneventful miles one February morning. I spent the rest of the day at work, sucking down several doses of advil and a series of fake and forced yawns to provide me with an excuse to tell everyone how tired I was, after waking up early and running two miles.

This continued for a few days, and slowly the progression began. Old paint stained shoes, gave way to a new pair of running shoes, two miles crept into three, and somewhere along the way an email entitled "Broad Street Run Confirmation" made it's way to my inbox.

And since then, I don't know, I've seen some stuff, as my friend would say. I've seen start lines in cities you'd love to visit, and ones you'll never hear of. I've seen numbers on a clock, and finish lines that seemed like they would never come. I've seen a wall of sound, as I turned onto Boylston St., and the hush of a city asleep as a winter's snow begins to fall.

And each of these memories, holds a different place in my heart, filed into various categories. The stories to tell in an attempt to impress, the stories to make you laugh, and the stories to inspire. And that last category, the stories that I keep to myself, the ones just for me. Ones that don't translate so easily.

Stories like a two mile jog one February morning. A thoroughly uneventful run by all accounts, except for one.

It happened to change my life.