All running stories have beginnings. Some have more than one. These are mine. . .
In a beginning. . .
I registered a domain name (chasing10k) and started to write. I feel like I have something to say to the world about running. I’m not an expert in the subject by any means. And there are many (hundreds? thousands? gazillions?) that are more eloquent than me (or is it “I”). Regardless, I hope to add some value and the occasional insight into what has become my passion. If nothing else, maybe I’ll be able to entertain you for a bit.
So while this is the beginning of this blog, it isn’t the beginning of my running. . .
In the beginning. . .
I ran track in high school. That sounds much more impressive than reality though. High school track immediately leads you to think of speed and endurance. Young athletes trained to run fast and long. My experience wasn’t quite like that. I ran hurdles for 2 years with a couple friends, which was more of a social endeavor than an athletic one.
The coach never spent much time with us so it was almost entirely self directed. We would go off to the side, run 10 hurdles at a time, and hang out more than anything else. Hurdles are rather technical so we ended up spending more time trying to figure out how to get over the hurdles without wrecking our ankles than actually running. And when track season ended, my running ended. I never ran outside of the spring track season and as soon as it was over I was on to other pursuits.
So while this was the beginning of my “organized” running and racing, it wasn’t really the beginning . . .
In another beginning. . .
My wife and I did a mud run back in 2011. These were all the rage a while back (frankly, they may still be all the rage, but I think they style themselves Obstacle Course Raving or OCR now) and it sounded like fun. Not the running part mind you, but the mud and obstacle part. These were 6 miles in distance and given my general level of activity (i.e. zero), I knew I needed to do some training in order to finish. This commenced about 2 months before the run. We did a 5k as a warm-up a month before the first race and I couldn’t even run 1 mile before being reduced to walking. So sad. Ladies with jogging strollers were passing me. Even sadder! This gave me the motivation needed to continue training longer and longer and longer. Like 5 miles long. I do not remember enjoying my training. It was just a necessary evil needed to compete/finish these types of events.
I completed the mud run and thoroughly enjoyed it. But since the obstacles were the draw and not the running, I once again hung up my running shoes as soon as the race was over. So while this was another beginning, it wasn’t really the start of my running story.
In yet another beginning. . .
My wife decided she wanted to run a half marathon. She didn’t want to run it by herself though. I offered to run it with her just as any supportive husband would if she couldn’t find anyone else to join her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t so it was time for me to step up.
Now there’s a big difference between a 6 mile mud run where you have 10+ breaks with lots of walking and a half marathon. I couldn’t run 6 miles straight at this point so that meant I needed to start training. Not like my high school track “training”. We’re talking real, honest to goodness, fully committed training. I had 6 months so wasn’t too worried that I couldn’t work up to it, but I couldn’t just wing it any more. So I researched some training plans, pulled out my spreadsheet, and got to work.
This was the beginning of my structured training, but I don’t consider it the true start of my journey. For that we have to go to September 15th, 2012 . . .
In THE beginning. . .
Halfway through training for my half marathon, I fell in love with running long. I had had good runs before this, but my long runs were rather uncomfortable despite the mental high of clicking off distance PRs every other week or so. I would finish up a run and immediately collapse to the ground entirely spent. I mean that I would literally lay down in my driveway completely spent. For this run, I consciously decided to slow down and take it easy. And when I got done, I could have run for several more miles.
This was a foreign concept to me at the time. I treated all runs as all out efforts. Consequently, while I felt good about my paces and distances covered, I didn’t really feel good when running. I was just checking off boxes on my training plan and getting myself physically ready to run 13.1 miles. Running long distances is hard (I know, “duh”, right?) and up until this point it never even occurred to me that running long could be fun. Challenging? Definitely. But something you’d want to do if you had 2-3 hours to kill? Goodness no. That’s what books and TV are for.
So I ran my half marathon, signed up for a marathon, and started planning for races even longer than that. Events called ultras. And I’ve completed a bunch of those to date. I don’t know what my running future holds for me, but I know that it all started with a love of running long. It’s something that gives me great enjoyment for many reasons, only several of which I’m able to articulate. It’s my addiction. It’s my obsession. And it’ll be the primary topic of this blog.