Song of the Day: “Running On Empty”

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Harpoon Vermont Octoberfest

You may know it as the song to which Forrest Gump kicks off his countrywide sprint. I certainly do, though Jackson Browne means a lot more to me than one scene in a movie. As much as his 70s songwriter sadsack reputation weighs him down, as I wrote last week, we can’t let one’s dominant image ruin legitimate work.

Yesterday, I cheered on some dear friends as they completed the Providence Marathon. Even the word “marathon” carries heft and emotional baggage, just shy of a month of April’s Boston insanity. This weighed on me even before I saw the SWAT officers with rifles around the finish line.

It was also my birthday. Feeling jubilant and spry, I joined one of my friends at Mile 23 and ran with her to the 26th mile marker. I let her go there, thinking of fellow Beantown author Drea running in a young man, but giving him the honor of crossing the finish line alone. Except I’m not a runner, and even with three miles under my sneakers I feel awful this morning.

I also feel older. Maybe it’s the hobbling up the stairs and the icepack. Or maybe in witnessing my friends complete a major accomplishment, my thoughts turn to what long term relationships really look like, and the commitment demanded from the participants. “Looking into their eyes, I see them running too…”