You Don’t Run Like Forest Gump

Jack's Not Amish

Maybe I ought to trade places with the horses.

“I didn’t know my old man could run like that.”

I smiled and nodded my head.

“I wasn’t close to full speed. I am ‘older’ but not ‘old’ yet.”

It was a day after his graduation from middle school and several months before his 15th birthday. The boy who set a school record for the most laps run in 25 minutes has never thought of his father as a runner

The boy who set a school record for the most laps run in 25 minutes has never thought of his father as a runner but that is because his focus is upon distance and not upon sprinting.

He forgets that his old man plays basketball twice a week and that requires…running.

You Don’t Run Like Forest Gump

We were walking through the neighborhood when I saw the countdown begin on the streetlight.

There were 11 seconds on the ‘clock’ when I saw it and asked him if he thought we could get across the street before the light turned from green to yellow red.

“I can, but I don’t know about you.”

I knew once the challenge was issued he would take off immediately and for a brief second I let him run so I could watch.

He loves running and I watch whenever I can because he is in his element and I see an expression of pure joy come across his face.

But this wasn’t the time or place to watch so I prayed to the gods of almost middle aged men and burst into a sprint that enabled me to catch him on the other side of street without stretching first and before the light turned red.

“Dad, I am impressed. I didn’t think you’d get here in time and you are not huffing and puffing.”

I tell him he doesn’t run like Forest Gump but since he hasn’t ever seen the movie he doesn’t appreciate or understand the reference.

Nor do I tell him I am kind of embarrassed that he is surprised I could run like that. It makes me wonder what I look like and if maybe I am in worse shape than I thought.

Later that night I’ll lie in bed and think about it and try to give myself an honest assessment of where I am at.

Vanity Thy Name is…Jack?

The 20 and 30 somethings I play ball with sometimes make comments about how they are surprised that I can move the way I do.

Most of the time I try to avoid responding with the “you should have seen me when” because they didn’t and they won’t.

I won’t ever be 19, 25 or 35 again.

They won’t ever be able to compare and though I know without a doubt my physical condition was superior then to know it doesn’t do anyone any good to talk about it.

But the competitive part of me hates not being able to run and play like I used to, because some of these guys could never have kept up with me then.

Back then I didn’t have to rely upon playing smarter or being the wily old veteran.

But that was then and this is now.

Now I need to focus on how things are and not how they were.

Today my clothes fit me differently and my hairline is far different than it was.

The truth is it bothers me.

Not enough to take pills to lose weight or gain hair but enough for me to push myself into trying to eat better and exercise more.

But not enough for me to stick to those things the way I should.

If you ask me about the last year I’ll tell you that I hated most of 2014 and a good chunk of 2015.

It was a rough time, exceptionally hard and among the most challenging I have faced.

There were multiple moments where I stared in the mirror and told the reflection to ‘suck it up’ and make things happen because the world wasn’t going to end because I was unhappy or stop because I wanted to scream.

I spent more hours at the computer working on trying to make things happen and less exercising.

The hairline faded faster than my jeans and the waistband got a bit tighter but since they still fit I figured I would just work it out.

Promised myself that when I got on my feet again I would work out harder and push to return things to where they ought to be.

And it is happening.

Things are moving in the right direction and I am pleased but the critic that lives inside my head says I ought to work twice as hard and eat 90 percent less because the results will come faster.

The guy that sometimes battles with the critic told him to STFU because the people that matter won’t care and if they do care they aren’t people whose opinion I value.

A Confession Regarding ‘Value’

If there was a pill I could take that would wipe twenty pounds off of me and I could do so without fear of side effects I would probably take it.

It would make a nice kickstarter and there is ‘value’ in being able to use a tool or leverage a resource that can help people take more than a running start at a goal.

But it does make me wonder if maybe I shouldn’t have wondered where Marlon Perkins was because the man inside the shop was acting like a peacock.


“I don’t think I could beat you in a sprint, but you can’t run for distance like I can.”

“No, the days of my outlasting you are in the past and unless something changes I don’t know if I can get that back. I get bored with running and you love it. But, a sprint, yeah I still have you there and I am going to do my best to keep that for as long as possible.”

We’ll smile at each other and I’ll stare at the teenager and remember how the toddler he was skipped walking and went straight to running.

This parenting thing isn’t always easy but it sure is fun.

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