If you are a runner and ever read running websites or related memes, you’ve surely seen those that say something to the effect of “You run, so you’re a runner.” They’re intended for people like me.
I didn’t run in school. I didn’t run after graduating. Running was hard and boring. But a few years ago, in the midst of getting healthier and using the gym regularly, I visited Colorado for a week. And when I returned, flush with all the extra oxygen for a day or so, I hopped on the treadmill and jogged while watching ESPN. It didn’t kill me.
I think what turned my perspective around on running was realizing that the most solitary sport in existence was a lot more fun when doing it with other people. When I started running with the Borough Runners at the Lost Borough on Thursday nights and training with some similarly beer-fixated friends, even the long runs became fun.
When training for a marathon, we slogged through 17 miles of mud and slush on the Seneca Trail and finished with a cookout in the park’s lot despite shivering in 30-degree temperatures. Even morning runs have been known to end in a beer. (Often I tell people that I run so I can continue to drink beer and stay in shape.)
In 2014, I ran my first 5k in May and was hooked. I think I found a different 5k every weekend for much of the summer. I was even getting reasonably fast. My first 10k closed the running season at the end of October, and I won my age group. First and last time I would win an age group medal.
In 2015, my goal was to run a half marathon. I accomplished that mid-summer. I also started running trails. My first trail run was a 10-mile trail race, and I ran it in road shoes. Trails were so much fun that I ended the running season in December by running 15 miles on trails.
A half marathon seemed like a completely reasonable distance. But something seemed wrong about doing a “half” of anything. So in 2016, my goal was to run a marathon. I signed up for two: the Sehgahunda trail marathon in May and the Rochester road marathon in September. Both turned out to be unseasonably hot – Sehgahunda topped out at 96 degrees – but I finished them both. And I capped the running season off with a 50k (31 miles) in November on trails.
I am already signed up for two marathons in 2017, and there may be other crazy races. Another post will talk about my resolutions and goals for the year. Part of the reason for starting this blog is because I’ve been in a rut. The hard races feel harder lately. The mental intensity isn’t there. I need to get that back again in 2017.