birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Discipline to Run

My husband ran his first marathon at age fifty. He'd been a "runner" for a long time, but started putting more distance into his runs as he aged. His goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon which means running at a certain speed, or faster, for your age group. To get in shape for these long runs, he'd be gone for a couple of hours regularly - training himself for pacing, speed, recovery and running techniques. His speed improved but he wasn't making the qualifying times needed for Boston.

Then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had no symptoms but was given several options including "watch and wait." Both of us worry too much to let that be the option he chose, and underwent laser surgery, removing his prostate. This left him weak as a kitten and carrying around a pee bag during the initial stages of recovery. Needless to say, he slowed down his running. But, he did recover and returned to running, this time half marathons and shorter runs seemed perfectly preferable.

Next, he started having problems with his achilles and it hurt him to run. Then it hurt him to walk. When he finally went in for surgery for that it turned out he had a torn achilles as well as a bone spur on his ankle and he was in a boot for a few months during that recovery. He still received his running magazines and looked forward to the full recovery that his doctor described. My husband is a motivated man and did all the correct stretching and physical therapy to bring his body back to running.

And now he's back to 3-5 miles once or twice a week. He'll walk some with me, but he much prefers to go for a run and comes home sweaty and renewed. He has slowed down over the years, but maintains a pace that accommodates what his body will allow.


When People Show You Who They Are