I am not sure what to write about today. It's not that i have run out of things to be thankful for... i am just not sure which one to write about... the first thing that comes to mind is my enjoyment of running. I know, non-runners tend to think of those who do run as crazy - i think my beloved is one of the former. I've invited her to come running with me,or just come along with me on a bike. She has turned me down on each occasion - so far.
I have no idea how, or why, but i have enjoyed running for as long as i can remember. While living with my father and step mother in Brooklyn, my dad took up running and thought it would be a great idea to take my step mother, my brother, and me with him out running in the unrighteous hours of the morning. I complained (i'm pretty sure), but i remember liking it somewhat. It didn't last long though. Running is primarily a mental sport. Speed while running is mostly about putting the feet down and pushing at faster cycles, but when the muscles begin to burn it is about pushing through and keeping the legs moving. Granted, my childhood was spent more outdoors. I rode my bike everywhere, and spent a lot of time playing 'Maulball', etc., but i never played football or soccer, or any other form of organized sports activity. I remember getting a wild hair up my nose one day, to race my school bus from the first bus stop, to mine - which was the last one of a route that was like a giant letter C. A check of Google Maps, and a little bit of estimating, the route was about 1.25 miles. I have no idea how long it took me to run it, etc. but i just remember racing the bus and enjoying it. When i reached the 9th grade, i went out for the Cross Country team, but before i could get too far along with it, my family up and moved - twice, between the end of the 8th and beginning of 9th grade. When the dust finally started to settle heading in to the 10th grade (after moving another six more times, yes you have read that correctly, between the end of my 8th grade, and the start of me entering the 10th i moved a total of eight times), i gave it another try.
I am not sure if the coach was trying to discourage me, or what, but the first day of practice the team ran twelve miles! Then we ran eight sets of hills, then eight sets of wind sprints. Looking back, I am amazed that i didn't quit! I was the slowest member of my team. My only goals were to be in the top 50% of whatever field of runners we were running against. If memory serves, i was successful in this goal, but the one goal i never achieved, was to break the 20:00 mark. My best time ever was 20:03. I dropped out of the team just before they went to the state championships. I remember feeling like i didn't belong and like i hadn't earned a spot on the team. My last name is abbreviated in the yearbook's team picture that year. I did something pretty similar the next year. While still in the team picture, my name was omitted entirely that time.
After dropping out of High School and joining the National Guard i got back in to running. At Basic training we were divided up in to three groups of runners for PT. Slow, medium, and fast. I made the 'fast group' by a slim margin. Man that sucked the first few days. Then i made a boneheaded choice. Each group had four road guards,their job was to run on the outside ranks, two to the front, and two to the rear. When the group approached an intersection they would sprint up to the intersection, stop and then stop traffic until the other road guard caught them, or the group had passed. Well, one of the road guards hurt his knee and i offered to relieve him of this duty until he healed. He never took the vest back. I ran the two mile course at the end in 12:39. Not a stellar pace, but not shabby.
Since then, my running 'career' has been spotty at best. I am trying to get back in to running regularly, but it has been hard. I have been hindered by age, weight, and family life. I am going to continue to try and carve out time, because i know that once i get back in to the habit, i will love it like i once did. Besides... if my father, who is over 70 years old can do it... i can too!