Your Funeral, My Miles

Last weekend, I finished my 5th Half Marathon.This time around, I did a different training method created by Dr. Phil Maffetone appropriately named, "The Maffetone Method ". It required using a monitor to keep track of my heart rate and staying within a specific range determined by my age.To put it simply, this meant, for me, running SLOW, VERY SLOW during my training runs.This is done to build cardiovascular strength.Along with a low carbohydrate diet, which I dabbled in, training at a specific low heart rate causes the body to use fat as it's primary fuel.I probably didn't follow this method 100% correctly but I will say this; I began to fall in love with running in a way that I never expected. I was able to get up out the door in the early morning, without anguish or dread, and run, on average, around 6 miles on an empty stomach.

In the past, I pushed myself to exhaustion, finding only fleeting moments of enjoyment as I dutifully logged in the prescribed training miles.Now, I have exchanged this " no pain, no gain " type mentality for a more sustainable one.This applies not only to running but every area of my life.

Yes, I will show up, yes, I will work hard, and yes, I will be committed.


No, I will not knowingly subject myself to injury, abuse, or humiliation.

Life is too short.

I counted my training as a success even though it may have resulted in my second slowest half marathon time ever.Why? It was by far the strongest, most enjoyable race I can remember. The weather was near perfect with blue skies and a slight chill.I drank in all the sights and sounds with heightened awareness.I was steady and focused throughout the course, waving, slapping hands, smiling,  and calling out to a handful familiar faces I saw along the course.If nothing else this race benefited St.Jude Children's Hospital, which is a worthy cause and and it was an honor to take part.

I spent that Saturday afternoon and evening  indulging in some well deserved, delicious, and delightful relaxation.

Sunday morning, we received word that a dear friend had passed away.

My husband and I knew of Patrick's illness for about a month and a half.We received a text from his fiancee Karissa on a Saturday morning and decided to drive up from Memphis to Bowling Green to see him in the hospital that day.I believe we both knew this would be our last visit.
We planned another visit but never got the chance before he passed.

Pat was a man who lived on his own terms.He read books, studied music, and played in various bands on the Nashville underground music scene.He is the bass player on an early recording my husband and I did.He rode and repaired motorcycles.Though he was born in Germany and spoke fluent German, he embodied a noble part of the American South; independent, resourceful,  and honest.Today we could make the mistake of using the term redneck to mean southern but there is a huge difference.
He lived with, and for, what was essential.

When I first came to the South, via Nashville in the 90's, I was impressed with how much space there was.( Things have changed quite a bit since then,I am told.)Not just space to live and move but also space to think and grow.One could sit with friends on a patio, under a canopy of trees, and take time to read, discuss, and BE.Having been raised  in New York, everything was so high pressure.The South seemed like a place to find my feet, so to speak, and discover what I wanted, what I truly believed,  and who I really was.

Pat would refer to certain artists, like Louis Armstrong for example, as being " fully formed ".I am not sure I agree. I think artists do go through a learning curve or period of development unseen from most.However, if there was anyone I have met that seemed " fully formed " to me, in terms of personality and character, it would be Patrick.He was solid and grounded in who he was.

 It would seem that being an individual these days is to be an endangered species.A true individual is not defined by something external like blue hair, tattoos, or some non specific gender identification.It is not so obvious.It is something that begins on the inside.It is the cultivation of one’s identity, however flawed it may be, independent of and indifferent to society’s desires or expectations.

This was why a person like Pat inspired me.It gave me hope that real and true brilliance was and evident in the everyman.It was possible to educate yourself.You didn’t have to follow a program that someone else dictated to you.Even if you learned from or were influenced by others, at the end of the day, you lived your own life and took responsibility for it.As the popular phrase says, “Run your own race”.

There is an element of danger, to be certain, when living on your own terms.I believe Pat may have suffered, namely in terms of his health, as a result of this.Perhaps different choices would have yielded different outcomes but there is no way to be certain.Today’s society wants to minimize, if not completely eliminate, the element of risk in our lives.Although I am not recommending being reckless, I think risk goes hand and hand with freedom.To live each moment, we face the possibility of failure or, at the very least, the inability to control or predict the outcome of a situation.If nothing else, when facing a loss, we should take the time be mindful of the choices that present themselves to us in each moment rather than just “sleepwalking ” through a series of reactions.

Attending yet another funeral for a friend serves as a bittersweet reminder of the passage of time.I have more than my share of miles on the odometer.The memories and experiences I have are important to me, though, even if they are invisible to the naked eye.It is currency that I bury deep within me.It reminds me and inspires me.I still have days yet to live,choices to make, and opportunities that have not been revealed.I may be slow right now but I am still in the race.

This is Patrick’s legacy to me; to stay true to myself, live my own life, and run my own race, as only I can run it.
This is a birthright, for all of us.

Patrick Hans Albert

July 10,1965 – December 3,2017

Rest in Peace

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