I am a husband, father, teacher, and neighbor. Most of the things I do in my life are for others, and that’s ok, but running is for me.
I probably always thought of myself as a runner. I can remember people saying I was fast when I was a kid. I proved it in the annual mile run at school. I ran all over the place. You couldn’t stop me.
I ran track and cross country in high school. I won a couple of medals. Then I grew up. I stopped running. For close to twenty years, more than half my life, I haven’t been a runner. I have spent more time looking for those medals over the last five years than running.
Now, for the last five months, since the first day of summer vacation, I’ve been a runner again. I hope to be a runner for the rest of my life.
When I was a runner way back when, I learned everything I know about hard work and dedication from my beloved coach, Yvonne Grimes. I never stopped thinking like a runner throughout my life by setting goals, succeeding sometimes, but mostly failing. Never stopping. Never quitting. Now that I’m back on the road, trails, and track, I am all about making the most of every run and getting faster, getting fitter, and having fun.
I didn’t realize it all those years, but the hard purple-faced workouts in the heat and prepping for a race with tingling fingers on a frigid morning are the things I’ve been missing. These are things that make running great. They are the times when you actually ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” These are the times you smile to yourself and simply answer, “Because you’re a runner.”
Now that I am finally a running adult, I cherish every second of my runs. The warm ups (maybe not stretching yet), the excruciating intervals, the hills, counting my cadence, and pushing toward the finish of a workout, of a race.
In the past five months, I have had several runs that went beyond my intended goals. A twenty minute run went five minutes longer. Ten minutes longer. A two mile run became a three miler. After a four mile Sunday morning run, I did a four mile Sunday night run. “You’ve got more,” I literally say to myself. And I do have more. That’s the fun. How much more?
Eventually, all runs must end, and it’s a good thing they do. I am usually greeted by my little girl yelling, “Daddy’s home!” as I enter the back door. She then fills me in on whatever she and her brother and mother have been up to since I ran off.
Maybe the reason I’ve become a running adult, more than the fitness and fun, is because I have people to run for and a place worth running back to.
Since high school ended, I have wasted my running life. I figure I’m only about half-dead, so I’ve got a lot of running ahead of me. I’ve got more.