September 12th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #601 'Remember, it's not a sprint'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama often speaks of his love of basketball, and that is a game that involves a lot of running. Still, I don’t know if he really likes running for the sake of running or if he has much stamina; for example, the kind of stamina it takes to write more than 600 letters without getting a reply. Ahem.

Dear Mr. President,

So I was mistaken! I thought my big half marathon was next weekend, and then I looked at the calendar a few days back and realized it is today! No doubt as you read this I will be slogging along with thousands of my fellow masochists through the wooded trails of suburban Maryland, listening to some guy’s heart-monitor-watch beep with alarming regularity.

Last year as we rounded one corner there were a little kid with his mom squeezing some kind of goofy, old, ooga-horn from a car over and over again. I turned to a nearby runner and said, “That’s what my lungs sound like right now.”

I have pledged to take it easier this time. For the past two years I have been lured into that trap that so easily snares men our age. I have started out at what seems to be a modest pace, feeling the pulse of the crowd, and intent on hanging back, enjoying the scenery. Then about eight miles in, I realize my pace is looking pretty good, and my legs are solid, and you know, if I could just keep this up…