Tuesday, April 24, 2012

3 Pictures and their Symbolism

Today, I share three pictures from Charm City Run's Sole of the City 10K.  And I will point out what I think are the most important symbols in each.  First, the picture from before the race.  This is a picture of me speaking with a fellow Back on My Feet runner who was also a fellow trainee with the Charm City Run training group with which I trained last summer.  Why is this important?  One word: social. Running is not just about exercise.  It is also a social activity.  And this has made it so much more than it ever was since I was in college.

The second picture is of my finishing the race.  This picture shows my right foot flailing out.  This is a habit I have had since I was in high school.  You can ask any of my friends who ran high school track and cross country with me.  They will confirm that I have been doing this since the 1980's.  What I find fascinating about this is that it is a bad habit that I have not been able to break in more than a quarter century.  In a week in which I have celebrated running my fastest mile run and half mile run since Ronald Reagan was president of the United States, I also see that other things that I would like to change since then have not changed.  And I ponder--are there things other than my less than perfect running form that have not changed since my adolescence?  I can say that, unfortunately, my tendency to dabble, to take on too many things, and to have difficulty seeing any of them through to a conclusion is a habit that began long ago and continues to this day.  So, in the same way that I keep trying to work on my running form, I also keep trying to get the rest of my life in order.  While I am usually much more focused on the end result than on the process of getting there, the idea of life improvement is one thing that I have to take as a step by step process--one step at a time.  Always striving for the best end result but mostly focused on the fact that I am trying to make myself a better person--use all the gifts God gave me--every day.

The final picture is one that I think is the best picture of me running (other than a picture with my son a year or two ago) that has been taken in a long, long time.  This picture was actually taken just before the picture that I posted above, as I was coming off Fort Ave and turning toward the finish line.  This ia a wonderful picture.  It shows me almost done something.  A symbol of the fact that I leave a lot of projects almost done.  But it also is a symbol of my completing something.  Because I know that I was less than 50 yards from finishing.  The picture shows me running strong--pumping my arms and in a good stride.  That is the symbol of the result of six years of work.  The picture shows me in my sunglasses.  That is one of the biggest improvements since my high school running days.  The freedom from glasses on a daily basis.  In the background you see the Baltimore row homes.  A sign of the city in which I love.  A sign of the city I love.  A sign of the city in which I have truly grown up.  And finally, you see the American flag off in the upper right hand corner.  The importance of living in the United States of America is something I cannot overemphasize.  The country that provides me with near limitless opportunity.  The country that allowed a high school geek to believe that he could be something more and could make it come true.  The country that gives me the freedom of choice to be what I want to be.  To be who I want to be.  To excel.  To slack.  To speak up. To hold back.  To express myself.  To hang with whomever I want.  To try new things.  To encourage my sons to try new paths.  There was a wonderful a-cappella group that sang the Star Spangled Banner before the race.  That was a moving experience and the harmony was wonderful.  But I like to think of American the Beautiful.  "America, America, God shed his grace on thee/And crown thy good/With brotherhood/From sea to shining sea."  Runners have brotherhood.  People can have brotherhood.  A common purpose.  Each seeking his own success to make the world a better place in which we can all be successful and all share in the fruits of the successes we share and build upon.  

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