I was a runner in high school and really since then, but I ran competitively in high school. There was always a point in the middle of a race when I knew that I had reached the moment of decision. The moment would come when I would know that if I reached down into myself I could do better than I had ever done before. I knew that I was tired, but I could push myself and achieve more.
And I can remember every single time thinking to myself that if I pushed it, if I found something new in myself that I’d never found before, if I passed the people in front of me, all of them, it would still be completely meaningless. After all, I would think, it’s just a high school race.
That’s how I knew I’d never make an athlete.
True athletes have that competitive thing inside of them, and I just don’t. I liked distance running, but not because I wanted to win anything. It was a great way to do some long distance thinking. As long as I didn’t go too fast, I got a lot of the same things from running as I did from reading.
Flash forward twenty-five years and way too many pounds and I still love running, but every day is a race-level struggle, but I realize now that there are stakes that go beyond a high school race. It’s my health now, but thank goodness for audio books and Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels.
It’s a great thing when you’re overweight to jog as you listen to Stout’s famously fat detective. It makes me feel less bad about everything. No matter how slow I am or how made out of butter I’ve become, I’m still doing all right when compared to Wolfe who is kicking back in his brownstone and eating and eating and eating.
So I’ll probably never win a race. I still could smoke Nero Wolfe with my plodding jog.
Okay, so here’s the pitch part. I’ve started a blog, Exercising While Reading Rex Stout. Come on by and join in on the Wolfe conversation!