[This is my column in the Dec. 1 issue of The Commercial Review.]
“You’re addicted,” he said to me, as we stood in the produce section of a local grocery store.
His statement didn’t spark a verbal response; just a smile and a little bit of a blush.
“You’ll start trying something new for more of a challenge,” he continued.
I couldn’t bring myself to agree with him at that moment. But of all people, he knows what he’s talking about.
An avid runner himself, Donald Gillespie has watched the progress I’ve made over the course of the last 11 months.
There was once a time I wouldn’t dare run on a treadmill, let alone run on the streets of Portland and in multiple 5K races.
But I just can’t let go of that one word Donald said to me on Monday.
Maybe he’s right.
What if I am addicted?
I try to run every day; whether that is through town or on a basketball court.
Even in inclement weather, like Monday evening when it was cold, rainy and windy, I needed to run.
After a holiday weekend in Michigan without much physical activity and too much food, I was itching to run. I wasn’t going to let the rain and wind stop me.
I needed to put my feet to the pavement, feel the burn in my lungs and get in a good run.
Turns out, the 3.1 miles I ran in 29 minutes, 7 seconds, was my fastest time for that distance.
It was a good thing I chose to run, but at the end of the day, both mentally and physically, running was precisely what I needed to do.
There’s that word again.
Dictionary.com defines an addict as “a person who is addicted to an activity, habit or substance.”
There is generally a negative stigma associated with addiction, such as to drugs, gambling or eating. In each of those cases, the addict is in dire need, physically and psychologically, of the substance to which he or she is addicted.
But there can also be positive things with which we can become addicted to as well, such as exercising and reading.
As Gillespie suggested, I’m addicted to running. Despite some resounding examples to support his claim, I am not ready to admit I am addicted.
Those examples include trudging through the cold, rain and wind on Monday evening to get in a 3-mile run.
Another was my search for a place to run over Thanksgiving break. Leading into my mini vacation last week in my hometown of Saginaw, Michigan, I had scoured the Internet trying to find a race in which to participate. There were plenty, but none of them fit my schedule.
So I improvised and went on a run Saturday with my sister-in-law, who accompanied me during my first 5K in 2012.
Her 5-year-old daughter Taylor tagged along on a bicycle, which proved to be detrimental to our original plan. My niece wasn’t able to keep up with our desired pace and disrupted the rhythm of our run.
It was frustrating.
Given the food I had consumed the previous two days, I was in desperate need — there’s that word again — to run.
And over the last couple days, especially after how successful my run was Monday, I’ve set a lofty goal for the rest of the month: run (outside) at least 3 miles or play basketball every day.
If I’m able to complete this goal, which will put me well on track in training for the half marathon in May, I might finally be able to admit to what Gillespie told me.
I’m addicted to running.