Beat the Guy in a Tie

Posted: April 18, 2012 in Rebel Running
Tags: , , ,

So Philly News is looking to follow 20 runners running in the Broad Street Run this year, in the 20 days before the race. They requested a sample of why you’re running, as a way to decide who to follow. I decided to enter the contest and it was the first time I really sat down and put into words why I’m running this race. It doesn’t seem that I was chosen by Philly News, but I thought I’d share my reasons below…

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I call myself a rebel runner. I hate the elitist attitude or impression that “runners” seem to give off. Sometimes it seems that you have to run marathon to be considered a runner. I’ve run for a majority of the past 10 years but never have (nor currently have the desire to) run a marathon, but people still call me a runner. And I have no problem with that because I am a runner, I just get concerned when “non-runners” say they can’t run. If you run for 5 minutes a few times a week, guess what? You’re a runner. Most of us have physical capability or capacity to run, but a lot of people psych themselves out under the presumption that running is just too hard. I want to kill that presumption and any others that hold people back from the joys of running.

For me I guess running came naturally. Id always loved running in sports in elementary school and always tried to be the fastest. In middle school my gym teacher told me that I have a runner’s frame and I should try out for the track team. I did, and I was cut. I came back to track and field in high school and continued on to run for Ursinus College. After graduating I decide to take a break from running and on the onset it felt great. Slowly but surely my mood began to slip and I fell into things my 16 year old self would have never thought I’d be capable of doing. Then I would have spurts of picking up running again, but they wouldn’t last long. I’d feel better during those times, but I suppose complacency would set in and I’d hang up the shoes again.

Two years ago I decided to run the broad street run. A couple of friends and I decided I renegade run, by not signing up and just running. On top of that we decided to drink a bit the night before, finishing a case of miller lite. The next day I ran the race in about 80 minutes — im not sure because I wasn’t wearing a watch. The following year I decided to actually train for the race and I ran about 65 minutes. Complacency and laziness certainly set in and I did not train for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in September. Knowing that I wouldnt be able to run to my capability, partly due to the fact that I went to a Blink182 concert the night before and partied hard, I decided that I’d wear a button-up shirt, tie, and dress pants while running the race to have some fun. And definitely was fun. I brought a smile to a few spectators and got a couple good laughs. As the miles went on my beer-training caught up with me and at one point a guy passed me and said “I really just wanted to beat the guy in the tie” and it made me happy to know that I had provided him with motivation.

After the race I only told a few people in person about what I did, before later posing it to Facebook (where all news is announced apparently). One of those people was “beans” Manela, a great friend of mine that always made it a point to keep in touch and see to it that all was well with me. When I told him he called me nuts and said I probably wouldn’t do that again. I thought that was funny because because if there’s anything that the two of us had in common, it was the fact that we were both a bit nuts. Dann was a bigger guy and probably only ran out of necessity in sports, plus he smoked cigarettes, with an undying love for adventure. So he didn’t know how running 13miles felt, but he knew I was crazy for doing it. And at that moment I told him that I would run the broad street run Ina suit and tie AND run faster than I had earlier that year. Weeks later Dann died in a motorcycle accident, and it shook my world. I’ve been to my fair share of funerals for family and friends, but at this time i couldnt remember being any more angry and bitter that the world stole a great friend from me, and a great person from the world. But as time passed I was able to accept it more and more, as I imagine is natural. And around the end of 2011 I realized that Dann was decided that I would keep my word and run this race, now in his honor.

Training hasn’t been easy, but Dann is my sole motivator. I’ve missed some time in training as I learned that the small tear in my meniscus is getting larger, so I decided to rest and even contemplated surgery. In the end I decided to pick running back up… This one’s for Dann.

Because of my layoff from training I’ve fallen behind my goal pace, and now it’s crunch time and I’m becoming unbelievably nervous. Luckily I know some training tricks to get me to where I need to be, so I’m still confident. Deciding to go on a cross-country trip to Los Angeles only made finding a way to get my training in a little more interesting-I guess here will be a lot of pictures of things I see on runs in Nashville, Austin, Roswell, the Grand Canyon, and the Mojave Desert.

Running makes me happy. It makes me healthy and it helps relieve stress. It provides me with challenges and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I run because it gives me an opportunity to think with a clear head (that is until runner’s high sets in.) I run because I appreciate the earth in solitary moments on the trail. I run because it gives me an unobstructed opportunity to listen to new music. But when all is said and done, right now,

My name is Chris DeLeon, but my friends call me Dels. And right now I’m running for Beans, because I know he’d want me to.

 

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