The title of this blog and the subject matter of some of my posts would lead one to assume that I am a runner. However, changes in my running over the past few years have led me to ask myself several times "Am I still a runner?"
I didn't run in high school or college. The only real running I did was recreational – a few miles here and there. As a matter of fact, I was about 30 years old the first time I ever registered for a road race. When I did decide to get into running, I got into it. After seeing my friend Kate run the (Boston) marathon, I had my mind set on completing a marathon. The race was on – I purchased a few books, set-up a training plan and started logging the miles. After completing the marathon (in a respectable 4:20), I joined a running club and started running road races and having a whole lot of fun with it. Since then, I have completed three other marathons (Boston, Marine Corps and Disney), the Falmouth Road Race every year since 1996, one or two half-marathons, and a ton of 5Ks, 5-milers and 10Ks.
It’s been well over 10 years since I became an avid runner. And, like most people, my life has taken many turns since the first time I crossed a finish line. As my life has changed, so has my running. There have been periods when I have trained by running the streets at 5:00 am in mid-winter. I’ve run 15+ miles on a treadmill because outside conditions did not permit me to run safely on streets and sidewalks. At times in my running career I’ve juggled work, a social life, school and family with running. Recently, however, my running story has not been one which would get printed in Runner’s World magazine. If you read Runner’s World, you know the type of story I am referring to - the runner who works 80 hours a week, does triathlons on weekends and gets up 4:30 am to get his run in.
Obstacles/impediments to my running over the past few years have included normal stuff like the renovation and maintenance of our first home, wedding plans, and job searches. There has also been some procrastination, laziness, and New England weather as an excuse not to run. Since I started running I've also experienced gut-wrenching emotional pain with the passing of my 13 year-old niece Julie, my dad, and our angel Abigail on June 4, 2006. Then, of course, there are three little girls at home who have consumed Sarah and I for the past three years! In years past I had a hard time finding an excuse not to run. In recent years I have found it difficult to find 30 minutes to run.
I’m hoping I am making a positive turn in my running, though. The excuses not to run have become fewer (in my mind, anyway). For the first time in many years, Sarah and I have a designated room/area in our home to work-out. The space is well-lit, heated, and has enough room for our treadmill, mat and hand weights. I have just lost an excuse for not running. Even though most nights Sarah and don’t get uninterrupted sleep, that excuse has also worn thin. Like most every other American, I have enough going on in my life to fill all my waking hours – a career, the care of our house, taking classes toward an MBA and (lest I forget) the care of three crazy toddlers! I’m done with excuses, though. I will continue to run.
I run. I think about running all the time. People with whom I haven’t spoken to in awhile always ask me about my running. Yes, I am a runner.