CSAUP is the acronym for “Completely Stupid and Utterly Pointless,” a 13 mile group run/exercise I participated in yesterday. The mileage is broken into six stops for pushups, cinder blocks, and sit-ups in the sand. Why would thirty or more men, most who rarely run more than four miles do such a thing?
I dunno, ‘cause they asked me? I think as I’m running the last 3.1 mile leg. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to stay in the lead group on the first five runs, I lament. Just don’t stop, becomes my mantra as I climb up each sand dune covered with compact gravel to make a trail, and I make my way to the finish.
I could win this thing was quickly erased by Maybe there is an age group award. Now my only thought is keep running, just don’t stop, keep running, just don’t stop… I’m in a work out group known as F3 that encourages men to be men but along the way we sometimes act like we are still in high school. Today is one of those days but I am not in the group. I am alone.
Somehow it always happens, I find a space to run, I am by myself, I run with my thoughts and little else. Ahead I hear laughing, I see guys chiding, encouraging, and cajoling. But my vision is narrowed, caused by fatigue, the after effects of stressing my body. I thought I’d be proud to say I pushed every leg, but now I just feel foolish.
Why? I ask. It’s just what you do, its who you are Andy, your DNA, your MO, your kryptonite. Any strength in excess is a weakness. It is the true Achilles heal for the narcissist, for everyone really.
I am still moving–slow. I think. A minute, two minutes, more maybe, slower per mile than when I began. I do it all the time. I do, but I’m not panicked, I know I’ll finish. I know I won’t stop but the fear still haunts me.
And its these fears that haunt us through life. They start way back when, they find a home and settle in. Often, we are not aware of them guiding our decision not to fail, not to change, and not to grow. And we don’t. We don’t change, we don’t grow, and we don’t win. But along the way something happens. We are pushed beyond our limits; we meet our match. Death? I hope not. Failure? Could be. Helplessness? Certainly.
Two miles to go. It has to be. I hear talking in the distant rear but now I hear footsteps.
“Just thought you looked lonely, running up here by yourself.”
“Huh, oh yea I guess so.” I can’t look but I know who it is. His voice can be piercing when he wants, but always its distinct. And when he says hello, he always takes an extra second to look right at you. It says I’m not just saying hello, it says, I care.
“Don’t let me slow you down,” I reply.
“No way, today I’m running with you to the end.”
“How much further?”
“Less than a mile,” he says. He’s stretching the truth.
I thought it was two miles so I’m lifted already. I quietly hope he doesn’t correct himself so I don’t challenge.
“We’re going at a 9:30 pace.” No doubt stretching the truth again.
It feels like 12 minutes but I am lifted and again I don’t challenge.
“Just around that bend up there.”
And I am hopeful, maybe I pick it up, maybe my legs feel lighter. I no longer care about winning, about placing, about standing out. I just want to run with a leader, this servant, this man. I want everyone to see him bringing me in. And I think they do. I think they know what is happening.
Sometimes, maybe all the time, a win is within our grasp. It just doesn’t look like we imagined. In my mind it is just me. In God’s world, it is always US. Tomorrow I’ll be the lesser part of US. But today, I settle for a water, a t-shirt and a place to sit down.
I am a Clinical Psychologist, a former Captain in the Navy, and I lost my son in 2014. So I took to the wilderness and found that God’s world opens up when everything you need is on your back and your only concern is the next white blaze.
Hey, I wrote a book, When Sunday Smiled, and now it has it’s own inspirational song! It’s for all kinds of people who have lost their way in this world. Check out both on my website, Andymdavidson.com