In junior high and high school, I ran mostly sprints. My specialties were the 100, the 200, and the 300 intermediate hurdles. Long distance running seemed like something attractive to masochists. I could never fathom why someone would voluntarily run more than 55 seconds.
Then a funny thing happened. I found myself coaching cross country in the year 2000 while teaching in North Carolina. I didn’t necessarily want to, but there I was, coaching a sport I never ran. Luckily for me, while I was considered the girls head coach, the boys head coach, a veteran runner, really handled both teams and I acted more as an assistant. This man, though he appeared in his late forties, outran the kids on a regular basis at practice. I wasn’t about to sit on the sidewalk and wait for everyone to get back, so there I was, running along with the kids at the back of the pack.
As the weeks wore on the running got easier, I got in great shape, and I actually found it really relaxing. Believe it or not, I kept with it, entered some road races, fell in with a little running group of teachers, and loved every minute of it.
After returning to Illinois in 2002, I slowly got away from running. There are lots of reasons why, but mostly because I got lazy.
There were a few false starts between 2004 and (gulp!) 2014, but this time it seems to actually be sticking. In fact, I started tentatively running again in late April, but didn’t trust myself to write about it until now.
The purpose of writing about my new running is primarily to hold myself accountable, to motivate myself to continue running. But I hope it might also serve as motivation for others like me – people who are generally out of shape, work full time, in their late thirties or older, and busy, busy, busy with children of their own.
I already have lots of topics to address, but the most important thing I want to get out there is that it was really, really hard at first – much harder than in my early twenties. (Shocking, right?) But, it has gotten easier. A lot easier. I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve what I did ten years ago, but it seems more attainable today than it did in late April.
Please do come back soon so we can say hi.