The Staging Area (About Me)
I know I was born and I know that I’ll die. The in between is mine.
– Eddie Vedder
First things first: the title of my blog was inspired by Cher’s 1971 Billboard #1 single, the first of her solo career. I’m no Cher fan, but apparently my older sister used to spend hours practicing her middle-school baton-twirling routine to that song; as a result, nearly 40 years later its catchy chorus is still rattling around in my head somewhere. Not sure why the title popped into my head when I started to brainstorm blog names, but in any case the resulting bastardized version stuck. I think it nicely conveys the vibe I’m after.
Me? I’m an academic research scientist full-time and a runner the rest of the time. When I’m not studying the development and growth of the skeleton, I’m working on strengthening my own biomechanically, by pounding the pavement and trails over and over and over and…. I grew up in Dallas, attended college in Houston, moved to the Bay Area to stay warm and pursue my PhD (check, and check!), and now use my hard-earned scientific talents to unlock the mysteries of human development at a bargain-basement price.
Running is something I feel like I do, as Sir Roger Bannister once said (insert stodgy English accent), “because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves.” My running career began as a necessary evil of team sports… ah, the unfettered joy of high school basketball offseasons spent forcibly training with football players and being “coached” by football coaches. Who doesn’t treasure their childhood memories of having to run around a football field in the Texas heat repeatedly until the fat kid with the Rec Specs® lost his lunch? Anyway, team sports (mainly basketball and Ultimate) ruled my spare time until I finished graduate school, friends moved away, and regular pickup games became more and more difficult to come by. It was then I realized that the isolated running aspect of the games could be pretty rewarding all by itself.
My older brother is the real runner in the family and the person who’s most motivated my running addiction. He lives down in Southern California and among his many other races he’s run the Boston Marathon twice (though I’m guessing he’s qualified more than twice), something that’s beyond my skill set right now, but never say never…. A few years ago he actually won the Wild Wild West Marathon in Lone Pine, CA on his 42th birthday. You’ll meet him in these pages from time to time, but it’s my blog and I’ll be sure to always make myself sound faster and more hardcore.
So I guess the most pressing question remaining then is, why blog? The simplest answer is that I want to document the races I run in a forum that will hopefully benefit other runners as well. The more space-filling answer is that as corny as it sounds (and it does), running really is a microcosm of life. As life philosophies go, Eddie Vedder’s distinctively spot-on insight at the top of this page is among my favorites, and it applies equally well to distance running: every race has a start, every race has a finish, but what happens between those two points is mine. And the shortest distance between them is never the route taken. No two runners follow the same path physically or psychologically from start to finish, just as the same runner can run the same race 50 times in a row and have 50 different experiences. I won’t speak for anyone else, but when I lace ’em up I’m not looking for the path of least resistance. If I were, then I’d be shockingly inept at choosing a hobby.
So my objective here is to chart each path I follow on race day from start to finish. And yes, there will be digressions along the way… I’m not approaching this with an “I came, I ran, I finished” mindset. Nothing is out of bounds, but at the same time I’m not interested in firing off a blog post every time I break a sweat. We’ll see what develops – I think the word I’m supposed to use here is – organically.
And as far as life-goals-out-of-my-control go, I’m hoping Tim Burton will decide to do an animated film based on my life… hey, if he wants to call it “Runningweenie” I’m fine with that. And if Johnny Depp wants to do my voice, I’m good with that too.
Thanks for hanging out here from time to time. If you happen to know Tim Burton, please let him know I’m free for a consultation anytime, and I’m happy to pay my own plane fare down to L.A.