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Sunday, January 27, 2008

 

Heaven, Nirvana and a Run up Parrott Drive

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Musafir as a Runner

Running through the streets is a good way to become familiar with the neighborhood. There are days when it brings unexpected pleasures.

One day last week I took Randall Road to Clearview, turned left on W. Hillsdale, left on CSM and right on Parrott Drive. Going up Parrott I had no clue where it would end. I wanted to loop back to W. Hillsdale and Clearview. There was a guy on the sidewalk heading in the same direction and I asked where would the road take me. He said "What about heaven". I told him that I didn't want to go that far. Then he said "Nirvana?". Well, nirvana is a state of mind. On most days when I run I'm close to it and that is good enough.

The friendly man stopped and gave me detailed instructions about making a loop which would require getting off the street and running on a half-mile long uphill trail ending at CSM (College of San Mateo) parking lot. From there it would be easy to get back to Clearview bypassing W. Hillsdale Blvd. I told him that I would try it another day.

Yesterday there was a break in the weather. So I ran up Parrott, made a right turn on Bel Aire Road, and a hard right on Tournament Drive which dead ends at the bottom of a slope. It was there that I found the gate to the service road and the trail that went uphill. It was muddy and slippery but I had no difficulty getting to the parking lot and paved roads. Not a long run -- approx. a 3-mile loop from my starting point -- but challenging.

As to heaven, think of those who could be there -- people like G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Rev. Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwel and other smarmy champions of moral values. Yuck!
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"The introduction to the Mass of the Runner", said the Jesuit seated at the living room window overlooking the the ocean and the dunes, "will be from a passage by Amby Burfoot."

The distance runners of every age strewn on chairs and stairs and floor gave a sigh of assent. They conjured up the figure of the stork-like Burfoot as he won the Boston marathon in 1968.

"I run," the non-running Jesuit read , "because I enjoy it--not always, but most of the time. I run because I've always run--not trained but run."

"What do I get ?" The words of Burfoot, a Connecticut Yankee, came in the Boston accent of the priest. "Joy and pain. Good health and injuries. Exhilaration and despair. A feeling of accomplishment and a feeling of waste. The sunrise and the sunset."

--George Sheehan (Dr. Sheehan on Running)
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