I discovered that I was a runner during my sophomore year of high school when the running coach tricked me into joining the Track team. Needless to say I was skeptical. After all, running was actually my sport's punishment.
In an effort to recruit some bodies onto the dwindling running teams, he had caught a few of my soccer games, the sport that I had lived and breathed for 10 years, and decided that I had the stamina to be a runner. That spring, I went Track and I never went back. I quit the soccer team the following autumn and joined Cross Country and then helped him to start an "Indoor Running Club" during the off season in between. I ran year round and because my high school and my house were a quarter mile apart, all of the routes that I ran for practice were the same as the routes that I ran during summers and weekends. And every twang of adolescent angst that I had was worked out on those routes.
This past week, I went back to Connecticut, where I spent the first 23 years of my life, for reasons that I'll cover in another post. Because I'm at the peak of my marathon training plan, I knew I would have to run my longest run ever while I was there: 20 miles. So last Friday, for the first time in probably 5 years, I laced up my running shoes, walked out the door of the house I grew up in, and just ran.
I didn't have a specific route or combination of routes in mind when I started, but my feet seemed to take over out of muscle memory. I ran through Easton and Fairfield and Weston and Westport, down all of the roads where I found freedom in nature and the quiet to think through all of the teenage drama that felt suffocating behind the walls of my school or my bedroom or the mall, where I worked all through high school. And as I ran, I revisited a lot of that.
Running saved me in high school. It taught me how to be alone in a way that was empowering. It gave me a new way to digest all of the strong emotions that you get slammed with as a 16 year old kid. It helped me to find one of the only ways I was ever able to appreciate where I lived: running in the nature of Connecticut is after all, one of the most beautiful places to run.
So I'm glad that I had the chance to go back there for a run in the middle of this crazy marathon adventure. I know deep down that it was probably the last time I'll ever run in Connecticut, and that made it all the sweeter. It was nice to go back to my roots as a runner, nice to have a gorgeous change of scenery, nice to breathe in some fresh air, and nice to remember why I began running in the first place.
4/29/13 - 5/5/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
- ran 3 days for a total of 32.75 miles
- ran my longest run yet - 20 miles!!
- completed two full months of marathon training
- logged 113 miles in the month of April!!!