Thursday, April 17, 2014


Remember the 1979 classic "Meatballs". Love this movie and love this scene where Trippper (Bill Murray) delivers a motivational speech to the campers who are worried about their annual competition with another camp.

A couple of days ago my friend Julie who I have known since we were at Syracuse together back in the mid to late 80's asked me if I was writing on Just A Mile To Go anymore. I gave her several excuses but the truth is I have not made the time. Hopefully Julie's encouragement and willingness to help out will give me that little kick in the pants I need. Here is what Julie has to say.

"It was much easier for me to ask Eric to get back to his blog so I could enjoy his thoughts. But my old important college friend, who introduced me to the Princess Bride said if I have something to say I should write. So here is what I have to say, IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER.

Julie and son
I seem to have to learn this over and over again. I have not been running my entire life, I started after the birth of my youngest son and he just turned 8, so not that long. I have had great training runs, have fun prs, lots of race shirts with lots of great stories and even one marathon under my belt. But this winter was something different and it made me learn the lesson I keep having to learn over and over again, “It just doesn’t matter”.

I am a competitive person, I don’t like to be last and in most aspects of my life I am up front, except for running. I have been humbled, I have been blistered and I have learned the same lesson again and again, “it just doesn’t matter”. Eric will always run more miles than me, but others will run many fewer miles than me. And that just doesn’t matter. So what doesn’t matter? That after a winter of insane cold, insane work and insane sick I feel like a beginning runner. It just doesn’t matter that my times are back in the 10-minute mile range. It just doesn’t matter that I start my run with my friends but usually end alone and behind. It just doesn’t matter that my running partners had a great winter training season and I am jealous.

Julie and Danny
What matters is that running allows me to be honest that I am jealous, angry at myself for for being back at what feels like the beginning, slow and human. Also that running makes me push myself like I never have in anything else in my life (and I have a PhD. , so I wrote the dreaded dissertation so I can push hard). But running makes me say I can be better, I can push and I can try, succeed, fail and try again.

And if yesterday I finally had a sub 10 run, it just doesn’t matter because tomorrow I might have a sub 11. It just doesn’t matter because even with injury, blisters, snow, rain, and lack of sleep it matters that running makes me better. Better mom, wife, professor and friend. A better Julie. And for all of those shitty runs, the early mornings and the miserable first two miles that don't matter, today’s run, with the sun shining, all the chores for the day done and sub 10 miles shows me that I will probably have to keep learning the lesson over and over but it is worth it, because I get to be a runner."

Julie's point, if I may opine, is one of the most relevant when it comes to running. I am not taking away from the fact that we as runners often work tirelessly with specific time or distance goals in mind and often fall short. This can seem extremely disappointing at the time. But in the end Julie is right, "It just doesn't matter". First of all lets be honest. There are much more important and disappointing things going on in this world that are more catastrophic than missing a pr. For our purpose here, what matters is how we handle these moments and how our journey through running impacts our journey in life. I ask you the following question in several variations. To me what matters is if I answer yes to the following.

Do your failures and successes....
  • change the way you attempt to solve problems?
  • make you stronger?
  • make you a better person, husband, father, friend businessman?
  • drive you to pay it forward?
Ahhhh....feels good to write again even if it was only a couple of paragraphs. It's the thought that counts right? Thanks Julie!

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