Running Community Leader

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By Lionel Brahim Brodie III.

I wake up with:

Remnants of a mild to moderate headache. Attributed primarily to stress, an underserving of proper fluids, and/or an overserving of improper…..“fluids”.

A bat’s vision. Fictional without a prescription; spotty at best with the Hubble-intense apparatus (plural) that I’ve been wearing since high school.

A bat’s hearing. But only when I am within a sardine-like earshot of the person or thing I am attempting to listen to. It improves thoroughly, however, after a relentless dosage of the rewind button or the more frequent occurrence of “can you repeat that please?”

Tangent: Did I mention that I have a GHASTLY fear of bats? But am abnormally obsessed with Batman…..

An appetite for destruction, and most things with gluten, acid, and spice. Problem is, I can barely chew with the front and left sides of my mouth because of injuries sustained in my 20s…..due to a seemingly everlasting “disco rage”. Also, every doctor in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area has warned me to stay away from most things with gluten, acid, and spice. Can you repeat that please?

A left shoulder that is appended to by body with an incredibly thin, Nike Flywire thread. Misdiagnosed for over a score, this “tear" causes, at times, sensations that are located in the CVS aisle of pinched nerve, blood clot, collapsed lung, seizure, stroke, and/or any EKG-tested heart condition that my headache clouded mind can concoct. It has been recently been properly diagnosed as First Rib Fixation. In other words, my left top rib is elevated higher than it should be. Explains why I’ve been sauntering about like Quasimodo since that car accident on Super Bowl Sunday 1997. My right shoulder…..two Flywire threads.

A kangaroo pouch posing as my stomach that cannot decide if it is hungry, bloated, nauseous, fat, or all of the above. Why? Most things with gluten, acid, and spice….. and failed college tries at proper dieting and eating clean. The baby kangaroo’s name is Kaycee, same as the joey that was in the Lionel Kiddie City logo (this is a not-so-subtle wordplay, since my first name is Lionel, duh).

A left hamstring that, luckily for me, only seems to tighten up on days that I want to run. I want to run every day, so…..

A right hip that, on most days, feels amazing. But on some days, normally immediately after a run, feels as if it’s being gently tugged on…..by a blue whale. I can’t swim.

Two knees that I can crack like knuckles and sound like organic peppercorn grinders when I walk. They rhythmically sound like maracas when I run.

A left ankle whose stability rivals that World Wonder in Pisa. I overcompensate on my right ankle, which I have now twisted as often as CIROC Peach bottle tops before a very liberal pour.

Flat feet. Two of them. That and my heavier build lead to a little thing doctors like to call plantar fasciitis. I call it painful feet.

I wake up like this. Daily. And it is because of all of the aforementioned BLESSINGS that I run. On dreadmills, sidewalks, streets, and trails. In 5Ks, 5-milers, 10Ks, 10-milers, half-marathons, and hopefully next year…..dare I say marathon?

I run because some say I physically should not. I run because most think I physically cannot. I run to dispel the notion that an overweight person, according to most medical charts, would not (mind you, LeBron James is considered overweight according to those same charts).

I run because I can.

I run because I have to.

I run because it works.

I run because I love it.

I run because I wake up like this.

I run to overcome.

O. P. A. C. Up.

O. P. A. C. Kai.

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