Dave Griffin on Running – The Carroll County Times – Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dave Griffin on Running – The Carroll County Times – Sunday, August 5, 2012

I ran onto the paved trail that loops around the pond behind my office building.  On nice days, a lot of people walk there.  I see them talking on cell phones or with friends and know they’ve made a brief escape from whatever awaits them back at work.

I left them behind, not wanting to be around anyone else, and ran between the buildings in the surrounding corporate campus.  People and cars moved about as I passed them, on my way to a quieter place. 

I didn’t have to think about starting this run.  It was decided long ago in the habits I've formed over the years.  Each night, I pack my running bag.  In the morning, I take it to work.  At lunch, I grab it, go to the locker room, and get dressed.  Then I run.

By the time I reach isolation, I’m in a trance-like state.  It’s hard to describe to someone who doesn’t run, but those who do know what I mean.  Sound is muffled.  Worries dissolve.  I am simply moving, sometimes effortlessly, sometimes not.

This run was a good one.  I was feeling fluid; there was no hint of pain.  I looped around some grassy fields, the high sun hardly casting a shadow.  There was a breeze pulling the sweat away almost as quickly as it surfaced.

Running is a physical exercise.  That’s obvious, but there is a strong connection between movement and well-being.  Each step eases a lingering emotion.  Anxiety and worry are soothed.

Of all the things I’ve gained through running – the accomplishment, the strength, the confidence - nothing seems quite as valuable now as the emotional stability. 

When I started running as a boy, I didn’t know I was beginning to build life-long disciplines.  Personal responsibility was in my make up, so the sport suited me.  And at some point between then and now, running evolved from a sport to a passion and then from a passion to a way of life.

I never took a personal inventory; I don’t remember constructing a plan for who I wanted to be.  I’ve been an example of good fortune; the path I stumbled upon has led me to a good place.

During the last miles of my run, I settled into deep, undistracted thought.  I don’t want to leave the rest of my life to chance.  I want to think about the future and use the wisdom I’ve gained.  My good life must become a life of purpose.

We are in constant process of evolution.  The only question is whether the change will be by design or by default. 

So for now, as I run, I’ll use the quiet time for personal reflection.  I’ll think about the character I want to develop, the influence I want to have and how I want to be remembered.  I’ll decide on a new vision and work on new habits.

Then, no matter how the path ahead might turn, I will have faith in my chosen virtues.