No surrender

November 22, 2009

The Bruce Springsteen song that I associate most with running is “No Surrender,” one of several hits from his hugely successful Born in the U.S.A. album.

It’s mainly the first line that speaks to me: “Well we busted out of class/ Had to get away from those fools….” While my own exits from academic buildings rarely are flamboyant enough to qualify as “busting out,” I often get a sense of liberation from breaking into stride after a long day in the lab. It’s a feeling I first noticed as an undergraduate when heading to cross-country practice after organic chemistry.

A recent discussion of the above with my friend Mary led her to send me a pre-JFK good-luck email with a link to a video of a live performance of “No Surrender.” It was an exceedingly apt choice. I had just flown to Washington DC for a five-day ASTMH meeting, but would briefly “bust out” of the conference — having to get away from those geniuses, I suppose — in order to run the race. And considering how the race unfolded, “No retreat, baby, no surrender” was a fitting refrain. Mary’s post-race email didn’t miss a beat: “Greg job Greg! There’s definitely no surrender in you!”

Or, as another Springsteen song might put it: biochemists like me, baby we were born to ruuuun.


  1. In reading your accounts, i felt very similiar emotions to another poster in the race recap, who has evidently been reading you for at least long as i have.What kept me reading all this time, even when there were no joyful triumphs to groupie on, was the sense of a REAL balancing act between primordial passion and professional excellence; both being attitudes so charged which can make one easily stray off course.I would speculate that the love for Phil and the family played no small role in this newfound patience to be – yes – the "cold-blooded killer" you are, but a peaceful one: a bearer of survivalist goodwill.If only it were for the candor you admit how deep your desire can run.And i suppose that's the balancing act we all, sometimes, can't seem to master.Having had once the pleasure of hearing your voice on the phone, makes your sense of victory all the more contagious. Not just for me, but for the running community at large.Good Health to you and your kin and, musically, Merry Christmas in advance.

  2. Congratulations on JFK! I'm sorry that I wasn't there to give you hot soup as promised (sorta). I ran the Richmond Marathon last week but tore my calf and am still laid up.Your race plan was smart and mature. Almost everyone goes out too hard in the hills and then shuffles home. I gotta feel for Michael, though. He ran a great race, too.By the way, did you loose all the weight you planned and how did that go?Enjoy your recovery time!Bob

  3. Bob: Sorry to hear about your calf. No, I have not lost any weight this year. I wish I could get back to my weight of 2006 but it may not be possible for me right now.

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