Making It Possible

James Patterson
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I remember many years ago when we first opened the firm (Patterson Thuente) there was a profile that noted I both ran and went to church every day. I got a few emails over the years from younger lawyers who would come across the profile to ask if this is still true and to inquire into how I find the time for either, let alone both. That’s when I have to confess that for me it has never been a matter of finding time for either.

Running and daily mass are what make it possible for me to work the way that I do, even now when most of my peers are retiring.

At my peak I ran 40 miles a week and even though now I’m around 15 miles a week, running is still very much a part of who I am as a person and as a lawyer. Especially now that I feel the restrictions of my body and time in ways I didn’t before, one of the readings from morning mass comes to mind regarding both lawyering and running: “Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win.”

Running is my daily opportunity to simultaneously be free of all worldly constraints and to fully inhabit the world, something even a lack of knee cartilage can’t keep me from.

Over the years running has also given me the opportunity to complete a dozen marathons and countless road races, including a few races with my children, three of whom have completed marathons now themselves. The only real running advice I passed on to them is that they never need to worry about pace or race time, just whether they were brave enough to run and persisted to the finish line. I hope they know that when I talk about running, I’m really talking about life.

Beyond the mental health benefits of running, there are of course physical health benefits to just getting out of your desk chair and engaging in some exercise every day. There are many options, and one should choose a regimen that is personally enjoyable and sustainable.

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