The Best Of: What I Think About When I Run

Originally Posted September 20, 2010

I have settled into a routine of sorts in the mornings. I get to the Rose Bowl about 5am and take one three mile lap around or perhaps two if I’m really trying to work through something. Then I drive to the PCC gym, shower and dress and walk over to the office.  I love the chats with my colleagues who are coming and going for their own workouts.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them
— ­­Maya Angelou

I am a runner, yes, although I run more like a Clydesdale, and in saying this I mean no disrespect to horses. The real reason I run is because it is the quietest hour of my day, the one hour of my day when I am away from anything electronic. It’s when I do most of my writing and thinking. More specifically, I should say running is my daily prayer, not in the strictly religious sense, but in the sense that most prayer is about the question, “What’s next?” In running, the response to this question always comes from within. In the short­ term, for me the answer to What’s next? is to take the very next step. Just keep going. In the longer term, I set a goal, the next 10k, the next marathon, as a way to keep growing, to keep trying to get better.

But so often the most truthful answer to What’s next? is, I don’t know. Now to someone who purportedly makes his living answering questions, this may seem like a problem, but not knowing is actually a gift in two important ways. First, it brings humility. And second, it brings faith, a faith in the future that things are unfolding as they must.

This is not meant as an evangelical or New Age sermon, but as an expression of the pure joy it has been to join the PCC family. I am inherently a hopeful, optimistic person and when I first came here, I of course had high hopes.  These hopes have been sustained and realized by the uncommon decency and spirit of each of you, my colleagues. Each exchange, each meeting, each chat, each shared laugh has increased my faith in so many of you to accomplish anything you set out to do.

The PCC family is special indeed. Albert Einstein once said that there are only two ways to live: as if everything is a miracle or as if nothing is. Each day by your actions for our students in the face of so many challenges, you are choosing the path of the miraculous.

So that’s what I think about when I’m running. And if you want to jog alongside me to continue the conversation, it’s Lot K, Rose Bowl, 5am!

Have a great week and let me know how I can help.

In hope and heart, Mark