Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running


What's in a Word

Published July 30, 2001 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

While I ran the other day, I thought about an odd word that I did not think much about, but touched my life in so many ways. Rerun.

Rerun (re run', noun; re'run' verb) 1. The act of showing a motion picture, taped television program, radio program, or webcast after the first showing or broadcast; 2. The picture, program, or webcast so shown 3. The act of publishing a newspaper article that previously appeared, usually when a contributing writer has gone on vacation, has writer's block, or has become incapacitated, and the associated article so published. 4. Lucy Van Pelt's younger brother, frequently mistaken for Linus.

During the summer months, we suffer all kinds of reruns. We can watch episodes of our favorite television programs during the summer. We get comfort in the knowledge that we can recapture any shows we missed during the regular season, or fill in the blanks in the story lines.

Radio talk shows offer reruns masquerading as "The Best Of..." They usually play when a host goes on a much-needed vacation and during holidays. I listen to the radio so infrequently that I am convinced that some shows have only three programs that play in endless rotation.

Many times our favorite newspaper columns are rerun with a disclaimer. "Such and such is finding himself. While he is gone, we will rerun some of his best columns." By the way, you are reading my 224th column. Only once did my editor rerun a column, and that was by mistake.

Like my columns, my runs are never rerun. Think about it. You will never repeat a run. You may travel down the same path or run with the same people. You may wear the same shoes and lucky socks, the same sweatband, shorts, and singlet. You may eat the same pre-run meal, and drink the same energy beverage before and after each run. The sun may rise to your back each time, and you may end your run with the same endorphin high.

You will never run the same way twice in your life. You are always a day older than the previous day. Your metabolism changes with your weight and body composition. Changes in the weather and seasons bring new responses from your feet, your lungs, and your heart.

New challenges and potholes face you each time you set out on the roads. Even if you went to the same track every time, your body reacts to the smells, sounds, and textures, making each workout a new experience. You will never sweat the same way, or form the same blisters.

Regardless of how much we seek to control our environment, manage our diet and limit the variables, we find a fresh beginning every time we run, a new experience, a regeneration of ourselves. Running is never rerun.

Kamal Jabbour wishes he could rerun some of those PRs of yesteryear. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at

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