On aging, speed, suffering, and the joy of a running niece

So. Another birthday. A new age. A fresh summer. But will there be new PRs? I am saying yes. I know there will an inflection point – the hunt for records on all distances cannot continue indefinitely as I, strangely, continue to age. However, it can and shall go on into my 43rd year of life.

Why? Aiming high, being willing to suffer and being chased by speedy friends in Central Park makes for a volatile cocktail. It pushes me to go faster.

My recent Dutch running column is about pain and suffering. Dutch readers responded en masse to my request to find satisfying phrases for the ‘non-medical’ (as one readers put it) pain we feel in at mile 20 of the marathon. Most of their replies would get lost in translation. But reader Rob brought up Buddhism. Here is some of what he wrote about the Buddhist term ‘dukha’, which I enjoyed reading: ‘Birth is suffering, old age is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering, moaning and complaining and pain and sadness are suffering, being connected to what we don’t want to be connected with is suffering, being separated from what we love is suffering, the denial of our wishes is suffering; in other words, the main components of life are suffering.’

Vera wins in IJsselstein

Rob concluded: ‘’Life is a state of permanent suffering which we continually try to run from (sic) – usually without success. Except now and then on a cool summer day in the woods. As we run.’

Finally, after having run with her in New York this spring, I recently raced a 5K with my niece Vera in Holland; her very first road race. She did amazing, and is now planning her next race. Check her out post-race, with her exalted brother Ceder and a proud uncle.

I think Vera has caught the running bug. Mission accomplished.


2 thoughts on “On aging, speed, suffering, and the joy of a running niece

  1. D! Happy Birthday! The Kellners have a hand-made card for you! Merce drew a long, long road (punctuated by a tornado here and there – go figure ). I know that there is one BIG PR in store for you this year and we are doing it together! Vsechno nejlepsi, T.

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