Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I can't breathe, but I push on. This is why I've never really liked 5Ks. The pain, the struggle to bring oxygen into my heaving lungs. I keep looking at my watch to see how much farther I have to go. Almost there.

The past few weeks have brought a number of races and a few concerts, two things that seem unconnected, even if one did involve the singing of “Born to Run”. Still, there was a common element. As I watched Bruce with my brother at Fenway, and Moshav Band with my wife, I felt like I feel after crossing the line in a short race; the amazing feeling as air fills my body and my breathing goes back to normal.

I never realized how much I need music until my father passed away. That year, as I followed the Jewish custom of not listening to music as a sign of mourning, I felt an extra level of pain. I don't know whether I might have been able to receive rabbinical permission to listen, but I didn't ask. The very night that the year of mourning was over, I went to a concert and I felt it. As I listened to the music I had that feeling. I was breathing again.

It varies from time to time, what I want to hear, or more correctly what I need to hear. I have my ideas as to why it changes, but I'll save that for another time and place. Either way, I've found it interesting that as I've been to these concerts, I've reconnected with the pain of shorter races; not only accepting it, but embracing it. I don't think it's by chance that as I've done so, I've been able to set a few PRs and even win a trophy for winning my age group.

I am pretty sure that the pain and discomfort are what make the breathing feel so good. I can't even claim it's a tradeoff that I would willingly make. Still, there is something about pushing and fighting through the pain, accepting that it's there, and the wonderful feeling that comes as, just for the moment, I take in the oxygen and just breathe.

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