The following inspirational nugget is from the book, After the Last PR - The Virtues of Living a Runner's Life. I met the author, Dave Griffin, prior to a recent speaking engagement with Baltimore Life Insurance. Over lunch, one of his colleagues mentioned that Dave had written a book about the lessons that he had learned from his life-long passion for running. Following is an excerpt from this excellent book that is full of practical and applicable insights that will help you on your journey to significance…
RESILIENCE - The ability to recover
My first running buddy was a miniature schnauzer named Pepper. Pepper was my childhood dog, my companion growing up. I don't remember very much about him anymore, with the exception of a few things and, more importantly, how I felt about him. We were bonded like many young boys and their dogs.
He was chosen as my running buddy by default. There was no one else who wanted to play running with me, so he joined in, though reluctantly at times.
The race course consisted of circles around our house. Given that Pepper was on a leash and didn't know how many laps were in the race, I had a distinct advantage. He would normally run a few yards ahead, and then I would heroically sprint past him just before the finish line. We would celebrate together, the winner and the runner-up.
I'm not sure how old Pepper was when he got sick. All I remember is sitting at the table crying with my mother and sister as my father carried him out of the house. He died before I got to high school and became a real runner.
Growing up is hard; I doubt anyone would dispute that. Relationships are risky from the beginning. Friends come and go with the passing of school years and the making of young decisions. It's no wonder we all struggle through that time as we search for affirmation through other kids who are mostly incapable of giving it. In times when I needed it most, Pepper was waiting.
The first gift running provided was the blessing of self-confidence. I faced challenges. I struggled, but I overcame them and found success. The days of needing someone else to assure me were past.
Later, when I was learning to live with the pressure of life's routines and deadlines, running gave me stability in a changing world. Every day there was a break in the madness when I went outside to play.
Running gave me freedom. It let me dream. It formed a bridge between my childhood and adulthood that helped me keep my identity as my peers were losing theirs.
When my kids were young, it seemed natural to get a dog for them. We chose a bichon because it seemed like the breed was a perfect match for our family. We named him Forrest after the then-famous runner Forrest Gump.
Not surprisingly, Forrest formed a strong bond with my son. Forrest is to him as Pepper was to me.
I'm always amazed at how quickly the years pass, and Forrest is fourteen now. He's showing signs that the end is coming. And so, life will repeat itself like it does sometimes, and I'll be the father carrying the dog away as family members watch with tears in their eyes.
Even if we don't realize it, the pieces of life are connected together. Our childhood, our relationships and our experiences live on in us, even after they've passed on. I've come to understand that, for some, those memories form anchors, holding them in place as life passes by.
Somehow, I've managed to keep all of life's challenges in perspective and keep moving forward, and I have a feeling I have running to thank for that.
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