In high school, I hated running and I didn’t get it either, so I completely understand where Jeremy is coming from. I didn’t see why you would do something like run without a destination in mind. And, as a team competitor for the most part, I didn’t see how something could be fun, and I mean really fun, without a score, some dramatic plays in which the other team got ridiculed, and spectators, the more the better.
And, I also can’t remember how I got into running, but it was after college, and I was hooked pretty easily.
I think what drew me to running was what initially repelled me. After years of competing on teams and competing in general, the idea of just running, for a long period of time, by myself, on a long road was incredibly appealing. All you needed was some decent running shoes and the rest was optional as far as techie stuff. Anyone can do it. You don’t need a membership to some club, a ton of gear, the best gear, a certain climate or a trainer. All you need is some running shoes and some time.
However, there are also people who have the long mindset. You either like the long distance endurance sports, or you don’t. It might be something that’s changeable, as it was for me. You get to a point in your life where you just want to do that and it sounds fun to you. Some people are there at twelve and run track in middle and high school, some take a little longer.
This past weekend, for the first time, I entered a running race. I was worried that it would take a lot of the fun out of running for me, having approached it as a non-competitive endeavor for so long. But I also wanted to compete, to see if I could finish a race, to say I’ve done it, cross it off the bucket list.
Of course, I didn’t need to enter my first running race at altitude out in Tahoe, that was because of my dear friend Liz who happened to mention that she was thinking about running one and that tickets out to Reno round trip were under $400. Ten minutes later, I’m entered in a half marathon and have an e-ticket waiting for me in my in-box. It didn’t occur to me that I would be training at 600 feet and racing at 6800 until about two days before the race.
And I did it. More than that, it was really fun. The view was unparalleled. There were moments that made me laugh like when the man running next to me yelled at his mother, who was taking pictures of him every 500 feet, “Mom, I’m running a race!” There were moments that tried me, and moments were I impressed myself, times when my friends cheering kept me going and times when I was all by myself without any runners around that were zen like. I thought about serious things and beyond ridiculous things.
And yes, Jerermy. It was fun. I never thought, even when someone made a sign at 24.5 miles that said 25 mile mark and I didn’t realize the error until the real 25 mile mark, that I would rather be doing anything else or wished I weren’t out there running.
Here is the whole group, complete with the support crew. Some competed in the 2 mile swim, a 72 mile bike ride and then the half marathon on Sunday. Butch and Maria even completed the bike ride on a tandem bike. An amazing group of people and an epic weekend, thanks to Liz and Lindsay’s hosting, that I will remember fondly forever.