Ode To That Super Fast, Jacked Runner Dude

Speaking of feeling a little less alone

Not gonna lie, the last couple of months have been rough. Lotsa life stuff swirling around. Most acutely my dad–my rock, my best friend–isn’t doing so hot. He’s got incurable skin cancer and is back in the hospital.

I’m doing my best to be strong and help him and my mom get through it. I’m blessed to have a wonderful, supportive wife, two understanding teenagers, incredible friends, my faith and my art to lean on. (And 80’s movies on repeat like Fletch and Can’t Buy Me Love, books, plays, Vs. Tuesday Nights, music (thanks Joey for the daily Pearl Jam songs), podcasts and sports, especially the endless Lakers drama around Russell Westbrook.) But even with all that help, I’m struggling. We all are, right?

This past Sunday, I went for my usual, early morning run. It’s about 3 miles. Including an uphill climb which kicks my ass every time. I had to take a few weeks off as I was down with Covid and this was my first day back. There’s a few regulars I see out there Including this one dude who looks like he’s training for the Olympics. Young, no shirt, jacked, tatted up, very expensive-looking neon yellow sneakers, sunglasses, white hat. He runs like a gazelle. I run like a turtle in comparison. (One of the fun side effects of Crohn’s Disease is joint pain. Yay! Plus I’m in my late 40’s. But no excuses and alas, I persist.)

Over the years–other than the occasional, polite wave/peace sign–we’ve never said anything to one another. This day, this time, for whatever reason, as he approaches me from the opposite direction, he slows down and calls out:

“Where you been brother?! Good to see you back out here. Way to get after it!”

I reply with a stunned “Uh…thanks man” and he whooshes past me.

Five or ten seconds later, I start sobbing. Uncontrollably.

Then the waterworks stop, I feel strangely calm and resume the run.

That small act, that one gesture of kindness, meant everything to me. I didn’t know I needed it but in that moment, I desperately did. And in my low points this week, I think about it and feel a little less alone.

If you feel the impulse to smile or wave or compliment someone, do it. Go first. You never how it can positively affect someone.

And thank you super fast, jacked runner dude. Whoever you are.

7 thoughts on “Ode To That Super Fast, Jacked Runner Dude

  1. And I thank that nice man who missed you for sharing that and knowing you are …..marvelous. Of course being your other mother….. am so prejudiced. Carole Goldman

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Johnny, thank you for the heart-wrenching post. About your father. When his time comes, the only solace that will matter is knowing that everything that could have been done, you did do. Stay strong and steadfast. And by the way, you are the rock now. It is a privilege and a responsibility that your father passed on to you. I am here, if you need me. Always. Alex

    Liked by 1 person

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