There's a lost verse in the Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Boxer" that I've always appreciated. It never appeared in the hit version, but Paul Simon wrote it anyway.
Anyway, one of the lines reads: "I am older than I once was and younger than I'll be and that's not unusual."
I'm not much of a boxer; I'd say I'm more of an old softy because that song always gets to me.
And speaking of being old and soft, I certainly felt both about a week ago when I got the chance to run in a local 5K race in support of the American Diabetes Association.
It was called the second annual Miller Run, named after former Jazz owner Larry H. Miller, a Type 2 diabetic who lost his fight in February of 2009. It was put together by the nice folks at the Clinton City Youth Council; and I'm sure glad they did what they did.
See, like Larry, I'm a Type 2 diabetic. I was diagnosed last November and wrote about in a column around Christmastime.
Back then I was still unnerved by the whole thing. As I wrote earlier, I had no idea what to think when my doctor gave me the news. Fortunately, I remembered a conversation I'd had with Larry a few years before he died.
He expressed his regrets at not taking better care of his body and although it was obviously a few years before my own diagnosis, he implored me to be smart and take care of myself.
For the longest time I didn't. But now I am, and I'll always believe Larry had something to do with motivating me.
Well, fast forward ahead to last week. After embracing a new lifestyle, I'm more than 40 pounds lighter than I was seven months ago and I can't begin to explain how much better I feel.
So, when I heard about this Miller Race, how could I not participate?
A few years ago I tried getting into running and actually participated in a few races, measuring myself only against my previous times. It was fun, but I was so much heavier I eventually suffered a back injury, which I believe only helped hasten my Type 2 spiral.
In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't run the entire 5K last weekend. Partly because I was still worried about the back and partly because I hadn't trained as much as I wanted to, I walked for a few long stretches. But, I'm proud to say, when I did run, I ran easy, with no pain or discomfort. And I kept my head held high, not just because it's good form, but because I was proud of what I was doing.
And proud of what was being done.
It's a little-known fact, but we newspaper columnists all have our own pet projects.
Mine, now, is diabetes. I'll briefly hop on a soapbox and preach to those of you who are dealing with the disease. Take care of yourself, monitor your glucose levels, eat properly, forsake the foods you know aren't good for you and, of course, get some regular exercise.
Get out and walk. Then, maybe, work your way up to some running if you can. But whatever you do, get your feet moving.
And speaking of moving feet, that brings me back to the Miller Race. It was a fantastic event.
In its second year, it grew from a small 5K to a full-on event featuring a 5K, 10K, half-marathon and a kids run.
Along the way its organizers raised more than $3,400 for the American Diabetes Association and presented the check on behalf of the Miller family.
Those who helped organize it are good folks and if you happened to be a sponsor, give yourself a pat on the back. I, personally, am grateful and I know others are, too.
I've been told plans for a third annual Miller Run are still up in the air. I don't pretend to have much influence here, but even so, I'd say this race absolutely needs to carry on.
Even though I'm sure to feel, as Simon and Garfunkel sang, "older than I once was and younger than I'll be," I'm going to be there again next year, rain or shine. Perhaps you'll join me?
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247