Monday, August 23, 2010

How I Became a Runner.

I was athletic growing up.  Basketball in the fall, volleyball in the winter and softball in the spring.  The physicality, comradeship, discipline and the quest to be greater drove my passion for athletics.

What I hated most about athletics was running.  Drills.  Being the last person to finish.  Feeling like I was going to puke.  The pressure.  Everything about running made me cringe.  I tried out for the track team to try to get over my hate for running, but after not being able to barely make it a mile without walking they directed me to the shot put group.  My best buddy Sara and I quit after the first day.  Clearly – though running was a staple part of athletics – it was not for me.

Why did I hate running so much, and why was I so bad at it?  Was it because of the horrible way it made me feel; was it because I was a bit of a fat kid?  I learned the answer to these questions while training for my first long distance race – The Crim 10 mile race in Flint, Michigan – in 2005.  A co-worker (Kristin) and I signed-up for the Jeff Galloway training program on a whim after seeing a postcard for the race. The decision was made over a cup of chili and half of a grilled cheese sandwich at the Lunch Studio; we vowed to complete the 10 miles. I even suckered my Dad into training as well. 

So why did I hate running so much? I learned, that summer, that I hated running in the past because it was never on my own terms.  It was always being shoved down my throat by a coach.  It was always part of a drill that I knew was going to hurt and that I knew would not end successfully. 

And why was I so bad at it? I learned, that summer, that I struggled with running because I never put the time in that running deserved.  I just suffered on the first day of practice and thought "this is what running is."

It was during the last weekend in August of 2005, with my first shiny Crim 10 mile race medal around my neck, on the bricks in Flint, Michigan, that I became a runner.  I realized that running – when it was on my own terms and with proper training – provided me with all the things I loved about athletics; the physicality, comradeship, discipline and the quest to be greater.  Running was no longer the part of athletics that I hated, running became the part of athletics that I needed.  This is how I became a runner.

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