Floating, not just runningThink running is all about perspiration, shortness of breath, exhaustion, sore knees? You're almost right. It's not ALL about those things.

It's also about feeling like you're flying. It's about mobility and it's about the simplicity of lacing up a pair of great shoes and heading out. It's about runner's high, that very real euphoria you get from a brain soused on endorphins. It's about being able to eat whatever you want, and what you want to eat is food that's good for you.

It's also about funny things that happen when you're running.

I took up running in the 1980s and kept it up through most of the decade.

Stephe the marathon runnerMy weird stepbrother, Stephe (pronounced "Steve") turned me on to it. He took it up while he was stationed in Hawaii, a couple of years before he retired from the US Army, and (I think) as part of a cardiac rehab program following an event of the heart that was unrelated to his crumbly love life.

Running became a passion for Stephe and he turned himself into a respectable marathoner. After his discharge, he breezed through Washington, DC. He spent several weeks staying with Ted and me while he trained for the Marine Corps marathon.

Stephe was a wonderful coach. He taught me how to get started by running for a little while, then walking, then running some more. He answered questions I didn't know to ask.

He taught me how to avoid injuries and electrolyte imbalances. He observed my stride and the wear pattern on my shoes and advised that I would do well as a runner, having legs already strong from bicycling and having no tendency to pronate. The only problem he saw was with my narrow feet and figured shoes that fit right would be tricky to find. He was right--back then, New Balance hadn't quite gotten in to the running shoe market--but Stephe also knew about a company called Etonic, which made shoes with a stabilizer lace around the heel. The system tightened up the shoes satisfactorily.