I’ve been running, in a structured way, for over 20 years now. Apparently, the first sentence out of my mouth was ‘I num.’ I was running as soon as I could walk, so in a true sense, I’ve been running for over 30 years.
In 8th grade, for whatever reason, I began running a 3 mile loop before school each morning. As it is for nearly all 12 year olds, this was a weird awkward period of my life. Running gave me a sense of pride and self-confidence that I desperately needed. And I found success in running as well – I placed 4th in the PE mile!
Thus began my career as a competitive runner. In high school I ran 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters in cross country. In college I ran 5k and 10k in track and 8k in cross county. Post college, I ran a few 3ks and 5ks on the track and one marathon. This all concluded in 2010. Over the next many years I flirted with training and getting back in shape, but injuries and myself seemed to get in the way.
I began to get really into other outdoor pursuits, such as climbing, fishing, biking and skiing. I also began a meditation practice. In about 2012, after a very brief training stint, my Achilles began to act up. This progressed over the next five years – to the point where if I ran for 20 minutes, I would be limping for the next week while I recovered. I really thought I may have to give up running forever. It was a really process of growth and personal exploration that helped to get past this injury (post to follow about what I learned in the process and what did/didn’t work).
Over the past six months I have been on a running awakening. I have found the joy in running! Where did this come from? – I just don’t know. (I do have some ideas – which is the reason for creating this blog). My entire perspective on running has changed. I feel like I have been missing the point of running for the last 20 years. Joy was the reason I ran as soon as I could walk. But over the course of my competitive running – I lost the joy – This led to feelings of inadequacy, burnout, and injury.
There are many keys to running with joy, which I will discuss later. But the joy is back! And I couldn’t be happier! I’m running (nearly) pain free, about 50 miles per week, and a long run of around 2.5 hours.