Monday, October 5, 2009

Minnesota Nice

There is such a thing as Minnesota nice, just not when it comes to drivers on the road.

A few weeks ago, I re-read "Staying the Course: A runner's toughest race" by Minnesota native, Dick Beardsley. I had read it some time ago, but figured since I'm on this "6-week-no-drinking-thing" I might as well start running again. And what easier way to start running again, than reading a book about running? Ha!

Anyhow, those who know me well, know that I start many things, and finish only some. (potential employers....feel free to omit this statement). Despite my Attention Deficit tendencies, I finished "Staying the Course" in a couple of days.

"Staying the Course" is about Dick Beardsley's rise, fall, and rise in the world of running. He started out a regular dude, living in the country, working a farm. He proceeded to be one of the fastest marathon runners in the world! His PR came in 1982 when he raced Alberto Salazar in the Boston Marathon. He ran 2:08:53.

Later in life, he got into a wicked farming accident. It had something to do with the "power take off", which I don't really understand, but from the description in his book, he got pretty banged up (i.e. broken ribs, broken arm, metal steak through his chest, and a leg nearly ripped off).

Shitty luck right? It get's worse. In the next couple of years, he ended up getting hit by a car, falling off a cliff, etc. It's amazing that he continued to bounce back... although by reading his book, I learned that both the physical and the mental recovery were aided by pain pills. This led to an addiction, which he has now overcome and been sober for over a decade!!

I often read in bed, hoping that the story/lesson/details will bore me to sleep. Such was not the case when reading "Staying the Course". I looked up Dick Beardsley shortly after finishing his book. When your search engine is on "auto", try typing in Dick Beardsley and the following things might pop up; additction, alberto salazar, boston, yasso, foundation, accident, motivational speaker.

I found out that he was on facebook, so I shot him a message. I let him know that I finished his book (for the second time) and that I really enjoyed it. I mentioned my goal of 6 weeks with no booze, and asked for some suggestions of other books I might read that deal with mental toughness, addiction and running. Although I don't think I'm addicted to booze, I think that reading about overcoming obstacles and finding balance can bring hope, and ideally a bit of guidance my way. At the very least, it can't hurt.

Dick wrote me back, and guess what he did? He offerred to send me a signed copy of his book! I already have the book though, so I asked if he'd send me a copy of his CD, "A matter of Faith" instead. Sure enough, he did! Although Dick lives in Texas now, and travels around the globe speaking about addiction and recovery, he seems to have retained his "Minnesota Nice".

Rarely am I proud to be an American. Often am I proud to be a Minnesotan. And always, yes always, am I delighted to be a Saint Paul Kid.

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