In the beginning….. there was a track!

Running has changed my life physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually. I’ve met lots of running friends throughout my running time. This is the thing I’m most appreciative of, the people I’ve met along the way. It never would have been this way if it weren’t for my confrontation with a track years ago.

I am so glad I decided to run around that track 13 years ago this winter. I simply wanted to see how fast I could run 1 mile in. I had remembered running a mile in high school and wanted to see if I could beat that time. If I remember correctly, those first meetings with the track 13 years ago were fun. I would go there in the dark. It was cold and the track had no lights. My lungs would hurt during and after the run. When I hear new runners say that their lungs hurt when running in cold weather, my brain automatically takes me back to the dark/cold track in 2002. I would be sweating profusely afterwards. I also remember having a good, healthy feeling after running. I eventually bumped the mileage up to 1.5 miles. Then eventually up to 2 miles, which was 8 laps around the track. As Morpheus stated in the movie The Matrix, I was starting to believe.

I then decided to run, what I call, my first “real run”. It wasn’t a run around a track, but a 2.2 mile loop from a local grocery store parking lot, around the neighborhood, in through town and back to the lot. Though tired, it was an accomplishment and small journey for me. I eventually added a 2.9 mile route, a 3.5 mile route, and a 4.6 mile route. It’s funny how I remember the exact mileage. I haven’t forgotten any of the routes, either. The 4.6 mile route was considered my long run. It took me all the way past the end of town to my grandparents’ cottage and back. After running these routes multiple times, feeling the ebbs and flows of each individual run, I decided to add a 6.8 mile run. It was a little more than a mile past my grandparents’ cottage. Feeling confident and brave, I then added on to that…a 9.2 mile route. This route, to me, seemed to be a day’s journey. It was also so far beyond my grandparent’s cottage, that the turn-around for it was in a different village.

After running the 9.2 mile route for a few months, something came over me. I felt confident in my routes and my running that I wanted to run a marathon. Not a half marathon, but a full 26.2 mile marathon. I remember making people aware of it in person and on multimedia (at that time, it was Yahoo Chat!). I eventually added on to the 9.2 mile route to make it 11.5 miles. I ended up being in a running zone. All I could really think about was getting out there and running, testing my personal times and seeing how far I could go. I would combine the routes that I made around my town’s area. I’d run the 11.5 mile route and add the 3.5 miler at the end of it. Eventually I added a 14 miler and a 16.5 miler to the mix.

As I look back, I can’t help but realize how boring these routes would be now. I ran the same routes, over and over for 2 years on the same road. In 2004 I finally ran my first marathon, and though it was a special thing for me, I only remember bits and pieces of it. I remember the start, which was in front of the state’s capitol building. I remember it being really cold, windy, and sunny. I also remember after completing it, my legs were sore for close to two weeks. I’m certain, that at that point, I had no intentions for running another marathon. Of course, that changed when I decided to run another marathon 2 years later. And the rest is history. I’ve run multiple races since then, mostly marathons, and recently have gotten into trail running and ultrarunning.

I am so glad I met with that track 13 years ago. Though I didn’t know it then, I now know it was a life changing decision!

Run on friends…..

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