And why haven’t I run a second race?

I was completely beside myself the other day with news of the Boston marathon possibly being run on October 11 this year. Beside myself with hopeful joy, not because I have a BQ (I don’t) and I’m chewing my nails hoping it happens; but because I’m chewing my nails hoping London happens as a result of Boston.

As difficult as that kind of scheduling must be for the best in the world — when it rains it pours, right? — the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) announcement offered a glimpse, at least, into…

But now I miss everyone

My reasons for running are not anything like those of Alan Sillitoe’s character Smith in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Although used as a metaphor in both the short story and the film, running for me has never been a societal escape or a means to defeat misery. I really just dig the endorphin rush, the pure feeling of fit, and the delicious ferocity of being “rungry” when I haven’t fueled properly.

But thank you heinous COVID monster, I AM officially lonely. And I have always run alone.

I can count on one hand the times I’ve gone…

To the uninitiated, 40 million seems like quite a number. But once an audience of runners learns I took those steps over 38 years of off and on walking, jogging, slogging, running, and racing, it becomes readily apparent that, well, I’m a low mileage kind of guy.

Like throngs of runners before me, I have endured the lowest of lows and exalted in the highest of highs through fits and starts and injuries and triumphs. …

Recently I had a Covid catch-up with a friend after so many months apart and while wrapping up our chat he mentioned that I should text or call a mutual friend, Bobby, because Bobby was “worried about me”.

Thoughts bounced. Worried? In what way? Or, what had I done or said to cause him concern? Bobby was a casual sometimes-see-at-work guy and we really didn’t share much about our personal lives or families, our
trials or successes. And we certainly weren’t at work which led me to ask if he knew why Bobby was worried.

Well, you know, you’re off…

Memories of the Bowery

There have been billions upon trillions of words written in the dreadful nine and a half months of this scourge to describe one’s experience with it. I say scourge, to me a dramatically satisfying word, only to avoid the clinical and armageddon-like sounding pandemic. Yuck. I suppose any word describing the curse upon us would lend more mystery, or more hope even, to our imagination than the ‘P’ word.

But not all aspects of my life have been disaster and mayhem. I’ve read, watched and listened to many experiences of new discoveries, fresh finds, health and…

And why it’s okay. Fresh starts are both exhilarating and difficult.

I am always surprised at how much I look forward to returning to the roads after a long lay-off or injury. Without fail, it always feels like I’m “taking up jogging” or “having a go at this running thing.”

Nothing could be further from the truth of course. I am not a Covid newcomer and I consider myself a slightly-better-than-intermediate runner. I may be slow but I know my stuff.

I was guaranteed, however, to make a few newbie mistakes, as I began this week with — oh, I don’t know — restart number 83.

Today will mark my third…

Keeping Your Chin Up When It’s Scraping the Road

I finally did the math today. It’s been around 8 weeks. Over 60 days of not running.

I last wrote about battling my waning mojo on February 22 and a few days later it wasn’t just my mojo that had suffered. I woke to a mysterious strain in my lower back, a debilitating spasm-like thing that had me bent over and pleading for a hard floor to lie on.

It’s in my nature to paint any pain or injury (from running of course) no matter what the reason, as a wildly dramatic event. I make it as theatrical as possible…

How I deal when I don’t want to run

A few weeks ago, I stepped off my treadmill feeling awesome having breezed through a loping and light 7-miler. I’d watched a gorgeous trail run on YouTube of a rim to rim to rim in the Grand Canyon, and I was Mr. Happy Endorphin Guy for a couple of hours afterward.

I have come to terms, emotionally and physically, that I am not racing anywhere anytime soon. …

Once, I even ended up on the podium!

Very often I’ve taken a secret pleasure in pretending I’m an elite runner. The fantasy strikes strongest when I’m at a race. Since we haven’t had much of that lately, I rely on a handful of memories, a flash drive of race moments that have flitted through my scattered brain on some recent runs.

I cringe when I remember accidentally stepping on Batman’s cape near the end of a 10k. We weren’t in a crowd either, it was just us and somehow, I misjudged just how wide his cape was. I can…

But they’re mine and I love them

A reader messaged me this week, disappointed I hadn’t revealed my personal bests (PBs) in a recent story. She’s also a friend and a runner, so I know it was a tongue-in-cheek gripe.

I’m pretty sure most runners share in the sport’s well-observed secret etiquette: non-runners asking someone their best time (or personal record, PR) at any distance is akin to asking a lady her age or asking me if I’ve put on a few? Call me old-fashioned, but it seems generally frowned upon.

But in the safe company of runners, we’re able to expound for miles upon miles of…

Mattie Birman

Actor/stuntman, showbiz lifer, writer, runner. Born in Montreal, raised in NYC, shuffling since twixt Toronto and Los Angeles, I have no idea where I’m from.

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