Once I was a runner. A real runner. I breathed and lived for the pain and glory. But I was just a child and the weight of my world was too much. By age 11, I lost the fire and wanted to be a normal kid doing normal things. I wanted to be average. So, I broke my Old Man's heart and quit running for 20 years.
Over the years I looked back at these experiences with bitterness, as if I had lost most of my childhood. It was a source of strife with my father that drove a wedge between us. The struggles we had over my quitting are among the most trying times of my life. It brought out the worst in us.
However, as the years passed and in spite of my disdain for running, it kept it's hooks in me. There is just something about it. A few times a year I would sneak out to explore some back roads or obscure atv trails near my home in Ohio. During these outings I could feel it tugging at me. By the next day, the soreness and exhaustion reminded me why I left it behind. In the end, it wore me down and won me back. Once I found mountain running, it was all over. It is simple and pure. It scratches so many itches.
Recently, I dug up some old photos from boxes in the garage. I knew what I would find, but I wanted to remember it and feel the "weight" again. It is amazing how happy it made me to relive those times. The regret is gone. Now I know...I had not missed out on anything. I lived those days fully. My days as the prodigal runner were a gift. My father's greatest gift. The gift I cherish every day, 30 years later.
|10yrs, 3 months old. 5 miles- 29:53. My old Nike Duelist flats weighed 2 oz! I was 4'9"|
|8 years old.|
My PR's from the old training logs I dug up:
Age 9- 5:18 mile. 39 min 10k.
Age 10- 5:05 mile. 5 mile 29:53. 37:56 10k hilly. 10 mile 63:07 hilly.
Age 11- 17:13 5k on a hilly xc course. 4:56 mile. 2:14 800m.