I thought of Jim Fixx during my 7-mile run this morning around the neighborhood.
It was a beautiful fall day with brilliant blue skies and cool temperatures.
Fixx, the author of the 1977 best-seller, The Complete Book of Running, died of a heart attack in 1984 during one of his daily runs in Vermont. He was 52 – my age.
Fixx’s family had a history of heart disease, and before the author began running at age 36 he was overweight and a heavy smoker.
Exercise physiologist Kenneth Cooper, “the pioneer of aerobics,” studied Fixx’s death and concluded he was genetically predisposed to the heart attack.
Fixx, like most of us, didn’t get to decide how he said his final goodbye, but I’ve told a few friends if I die the same way Fixx did, well, I’ll go doing something I truly enjoy.
I still have a couple more races lined up in 2013, but this year I’ve been enjoying the social aspects of running.
In June, an elementary school classmate, George Doumar, invited me to run with his team in a 10K race in Washington, D.C.
George’s two sons and one of his daughters also ran on the team.
I hadn’t seen George in about 40 years, and when he introduced me to one of his sons, there were more than a few flashback memories. Good memories.
Another good memory was running a half marathon last weekend with my oldest son, Jesse. I couldn’t keep up with him on the course, but Jesse did stick around for the post-race buffet, which, yes, included bananas.
Much of the half marathon course was run through scenic Rock Creek Park, described on its website as “truly a gem in our nation’s capital. It offers visitors a chance to reflect and soothe their spirits through the beauty of nature.”
I reflected a few times during the race, “It’s good to be running at 52. And I’ll keep going – because I’m in it for the long run.”