Where do I Start?

ok, I’ll admit that I swiped the title of this blog from the Reverend Horton Heat song…

I chose this title carefully, though… I’m a runner and I do it of free will – no chasing required. Some, however, do not share my opinion. Most of the time, those folks will crack a joke “yeah, well, only if somethin’s chasin’ me”. I thought the title fitting for those folks.

I think that because I used to share that opinion. It wasn’t until I was graded on it that I started running and seeing the value in it. Like coffee and dark beer, it was an acquired taste. I haven’t always been an avid runner, but I think it will stick now. I always come back to it, especially when I have stress and anxiety in my life. It has been the one thing in my life that I can honestly say has kept me sane (though, that’s pretty relative as of late). I’m always grateful when I come back to it and I miss it when I fall out of the habit.

I’m going on about an 18 month stretch now, and I must say, this is the longest it has stuck. I think I’m officially addicted now – as long as my body will let me.

Sure, I love it now, but I didn’t always… and I don’t always. There are days when I wish I didn’t have to go – followed by the sense of accomplishment and gratitude for actually making myself lace up and go for “just 3… if I can just do 3, that’s something and something’s better than nothing”.

Something is always better than nothing.

Then, there are days when I can’t wait to go. I eagerly pack my running gear only to be stopped by a lightning show or ice and am stuck on  a treadmill.

Something is still always better than nothing.

So… in essence, this blog is about my running. Why I do it. How I do it. Whether or not I do it. Successes and failures – and I’ve had plenty of both. I have lofty goals: I want to run a half marathon in each state (2 down, 48 to go). I want to Boston Qualify (and if I do, that’ll be MA). I want to run a sub-8mm 5k (did one today at 8:30 – I have my work cut out for me there). But… if you don’t have anything to work toward, that time on the treadmill is a little more frustrating.

Hope you enjoy reading… gotta run.

Sophomore Effort

I think the second year is the hardest.

I ran in a race yesterday that made me think about it (more on that at the Apex Turkey Trot 5k Race Report). I do my best thinking during a race I’m in the middle of my second year of running – and racing – and I have had a tough time. Thank God I inherited dogged determination from my Dad. It used to annoy me about him, but I’m ever so grateful for it now. It is that tenacity that kept me going during the rough periods this year – and there were plenty to be had this year.

The first year was full of all sorts of accomplishments – first time at 4 miles, then 5, then 6. Personal records every single race. Better overall health and weight loss. Goals met.  Then… I accomplished a goal I never thought I’d be able to accomplish: I ran a half marathon. Not only did I run it the whole way, I ran it in under 2 hours, something I wanted to accomplish for my second one. I felt awesome during the whole 13.1. I was on fire.

I felt invincible.

But, after that half marathon, I couldn’t quite get back what I had before. I hit wall after wall after wall. I had to quit the Tarheel 10-miler/Fleet Feet 4-miler (I was in the 4-miler, I thought) because I had somehow missed a turn. I almost quit a 10k because of stomach issues. Then it got hot and I didn’t run outside the year before, so I could never hit the average time I had even for the Half, let alone for any of the 5ks. I hit a plateau with my average time and it frustrated me to no end. I could barely finish a 3 mile run, let alone a 6, and there were many days I couldn’t run at all because I felt like I was made of lead.

But, I kept going.

Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (I’m paraphrasing, but that is the gist). I understand that sentiment now. I did eventually get a different result. I changed things – I started running at different times of the day. I split longs so that I did half at one point, half at another. I added other activities to break up the monotony of it all. I joined a run group. I started running with other people to keep me accountable.

I’m slowly getting it all back. The cooler weather has helped, and I think I understand what I need to do next summer.

Regardless – I’m glad I stuck to it.

Gotta run…