Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 11-19-13

Today, I ran.

For some of you, this sentence may never be heard from your lips.  A few years ago, this would never have been heard in my voice.  I went to the gym, but I would only ‘run’ on a gym or hotel treadmill if the elliptical or bike machines were taken/broken/missing.  I hated to run.  Hate is such a strong word, but I hated it.  I could think of few things worse, actually, than venturing out on a road by myself and running somewhere.  I claimed I would get bored, even listening to music.  This was an excuse.  The truth is, I wasn’t really in that great of shape, and didn’t have much wind in my sails.  I don’t smoke and I eat reasonably well, but I just never ran.

Now to the (more) personal stuff.  On December 7, 2012, my Step father of 21 years passed away from cancer.  His fight wasn’t long – somewhere around 2 months from diagnosis to death – and he was a fighter every step of the way.  The last time I saw him was Thanksgiving of last year, as he started losing his physical capabilities for simple tasks such as stepping up to a curb.  His outward appearance had started to change as well, and somehow, although we hoped for another outcome, we knew this would be his last Thanksgiving with us.

I didn’t have a chance to see him after he was admitted to the hospital, and his funeral was gut-wrenching.  He was a man who took great care of my Mom and although we didn’t ‘need’ it, Roger was a man who took care of us.  He had the hardest time of all trying to convince a bunch of pissed-off Cook boys that he was sticking around, and the early years were tense.  But then, as we get older, we soften, and then conversations become easier.  What was more important than my long-distance relationship with my Step Dad was the relationship he had with my older brother, who is a special needs adult.  He was always caring and helpful with my brother, and for that I am eternally grateful.

At Roger’s funeral, I heard story after story about Roger’s impact on others.  The overwhelming outpouring was about his generosity and the way he helped others, often under the radar and without fanfare.  He just did things for people, and often never said a word.  In learning more about Roger, I found out he was a pilot, and ran marathons.  Again, two things (among many others) I simply didn’t know.

When I heard that Roger liked to run marathons, I sort of laughed, thinking ‘who in their right mind WANTS to run that far?’  Well, after a little thought, and as a tribute to Roger, I decided to train for a 5K and run one before the end of the year. I was helped my a dear friend with the introduction of the C25K smartphone app, which takes you from the ‘Couch’ to a 5K run in a few weeks of training.  Seeing that ‘5K’ flashing up there, it seems impossible, especially to someone who loathes running.  Well, I started.  Then, something clicked.

I got stronger.  I had wind.  I had energy.  Although I didn’t want to – I lost weight.  I was up to the final training session, where all I had to do was run a 5K.  Well, I suppose I could have run a5K on the treadmill, but where’s the fun in that?  I would look for 5K’s around Nashville, but they usually happened on the weekends, when were out touring.  So, I put it off.  For months.  I started running on the road again with Jefferson (our keyboard player), who is a great inspiration and running partner.  We didn’t have any goals in mind, but my personal goal of doing a 5K before the end of the year was slipping through the hour glass.

Enter my friend John Roberts again.  He is a bolt of inspirational energy – when I actually listen to him.  (As he reminded me today) He has been trying to get me to finish writing my short story for 7 years now, and to no avail.  He genuinely likes to help and motivate people, and looks for a way, rather than a way out.  I told him I needed to do this 5K before Dec. 31, and he said ‘Why do we need an event? Let’s run at my house.’ Tomorrow was the day, then he hit me up and said ‘Let’s do it now’.  Again, the motivator strikes.

So this afternoon, with Roger’s name Sharpie’d on my arm and without numbers, signup sheets or fanfare, we ran our 5K.  And you know what?  I think I could have gone 10K (especially at that pace – remember I hate to run).  I felt great, upright, and strong.  Now, for some of you, 5K is a joke.  I get that.  It is sort of – the ‘baby race’. Well, one must stand and walk before he can fly.  Some are thinking ‘Yeah, right – I wouldn’t do that in a million years’.  That’s exactly what I thought, too.  It’s not bad at all, and I honestly can’t wait to do it again.  I needed that genuine kick in the ass for this one, and on behalf of Roger and myself, my thanks goes out to John.

That is off the list, and on to more.  This one meant a lot to me, and I realize that you may have logged on today for musical reasons, or to catch up on our road doings.  I suppose keeping the running up on the road sort of counts as that. And with this off the list, it actually focuses me up for my record.  Regardless, I am hoping that by reading this you realize that it’s a.) never too late b.) you CAN do it, and c.) there are NO excuses.  Period.  Thanks to John for being a great running buddy today, and I am looking forward to the 10K!

Today, I ran.


For Roger –


IMG_3112 IMG_3113

And I’ll tell John to not look so excited next time.

Thanks for checking in.

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