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a running habit

October 18, 2011

“I’m still getting over the shock of actually receiving an email from you!”  Br. Paul responded to my long overdue correspondence in good humor.  As a novice at a Benedictine monastery, my cousin only has email access every other Sunday.  A lot of time passes between emails if I forget to write before his internet day, which has been the unfortunate case as of late.  It’s a good thing Br. Paul is oh-so forgiving, as he graciously reminded me when he recovered from his shock.

He also mentioned that he’s been exercising – running, to be more specific.  “I know, I know.  You’re probably in shock now,” he joked and then proceeded to give me an overview of his workout, which includes running/walking a mile.  I was more impressed than shocked at first.  But he did manage to shock me when he wrote that he’s thinking about training for the New York City Marathon. 

I groaned and buried my head in my hands.  “Seriously, Br. Paul?,” I said to the computer screen.  “A marathon?  Are you out of your mind?” 

He must have anticipated my response because he tried to prove his sanity in the next sentence.  “Ok.  Maybe just a 5k.  You should run with me!” he exclaimed enthusiastically.  “I’m even considering wearing my habit when I run!”

Now, I know a lot of runners, and for years they have been trying to get me to run a race.  I enjoy a good run and all, but I don’t consider myself a runner.  I only run as conditioning for dance – that is all.  And I rarely go over two miles at a time.  Up to this point, I have refused to run in any race, even a fun-run.  At first it was because I was doing a lot of physical activity with dance and I didn’t want to overtax my body.  Now I refuse on principle.  Although, I might* reconsider my principles if only to run alongside a monk in full habit.  What a sight that would be!  (Now I’ve really shocked you, haven’t I, Br. Paul?)

Then again, we might not make the best running partners.  We’d probably get distracted by our conversation or make each other laugh so hard that we’d create havoc for the other participants.  Plus I think I’d enjoy seeing a habit run by, so perhaps I’d be better off in the cheering section where I belong.  Don’t worry about Br. Paul.  We have plenty of other cousins who are runners, whose arms he wouldn’t have to twist to get them to the starting line.  (Catherine, Kelsey, Lindze, Emily, Mom, Rosario, Rita… Any takers?) 

Thankfully, Br. Paul is just starting his training so we have some time before any decisions are made.  In the meantime, I’m going to stick with my usual running habits and encourage Br. Paul and his! 

*Disclosure: Might does not – I repeat DOES NOT – bind me to any promise or agreement to run a 5k.  If Br. Paul promises to wear the habit, I promise that I MIGHT reconsider my resolution of refusal to run in a race. ‘Might reconsider’ means I may or may not reconsider, and in the event that I do, I may or may not decide to run.  And I won’t consider any distance over 5k.  I just wanted to clarify.

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