Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Be It Resolved

So it may only be December 13th, but I've made a New Year's resolution: I'm going to run the New York City Marathon in November. I used to be a serious runner in high school, but had all kinds of injury problems in college and haven't run much since, but today, at 5:45 I pulled on my running shoes and was out of the house for a run. It never hurts to start New Year's early.

There's something amazing about a marathon. I mean it's a long and arduous process, not only actually running the 26.2 miles, but also the months and months of training leading up to the event. No one can just step out of their houses one day and run a marathon, I don't care how talented they are. But anyone can run a marathon, not in world record time, but as their own personal record. It isn't always fun, and it certainly isn't easy. Training can be a pain. There are days when you feel great and miles just fly by, and there are days when every step is a trial. You're tired, or sore, or just not feeling like running. Anyone can finish a marathon, but only if they get out of bed on those mornings when they don't feel like running and soldier through.

Yesterday I had one of those days, not running but organizing. We had an initial organizing meeting in Jackson, and, quite frankly, I was off. In the words of Randy, I didn't bring my "A" game. To tell the truth, I didn't even bring my "B" or "C" game. I'd call it more like my "D -" game. It was just like one of those mornings where your legs aren't in the run. My head just wasn't there, my presentation was unfocused and rambling.

But you know what? That's going to happen. Trying to organize to bring an end to capital punishment is not a sprint, it isn't something that we can roll out of bed one morning and decide to do. It's a marathon, and we'll only reach the finish line if we push through each and every presentation and meeting. Because, no one can give the Gettysburg Address every day. Some days we're not inspiring and we're not really together.

Fortunately for me, I have a training partner who can pull me through those days. Randy was together at our meeting last night and, in the end, it's not about my oratorical ability, but about the injustice of the death penalty. By the end of the meeting, we had a group of people ready to do work in Jackson against the death penalty, organized in a way that they weren't before. Even the runs that aren't pretty bear fruit. When you still "trust the integrity of the process" as the Abolitionist of the Year has told us, you can get good results even when you're not at your most eloquent and inspiring. So at the end of this week, I'll be back on the phone to Jackson, following up on the small specific actions that we all agreed upon last night. Because it's getting those hundreds of little actions and meetings together that make us able to finish this marathon we're all running. No one can get out of bed one morning and have the death penalty abolished by dinner time, even if they can deliver the Gettysburg Address. But even when we can only manage a few painful miles, a few phone calls, a less that perfect presentation, we get closer to the finish line, even when we can't see it.

Keep on running!
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