OK, so maybe I am a bit late on this one, but perhaps not by much … I never really marked my ‘start date’ for running on a calendar, but I put it pretty accurately in February 1989. That means I have now past 25 years as a runner. I have detailed the history here, here and here. But I thought it would be fun to list out 25 things from all of those years!
1. While I can place the date at February 1989 … I really have no exact idea of WHY I started running.
2. I can still visualize my first route – about a mile, maybe a bit longer with the cul-de-sac road.
3. Five things I learned right away:
– It made my muscles burn
– It made my lungs burn
– It made me feel exhausted and exhilarated all at once
– It made my metabolism kick into overdrive and the pounds drop
– It opened a part of my brain to me that I never knew existed
4. My first ‘long’ run – it was an accident. I was on business in West Palm Beach, FL and glanced at the map (this was 1991, remember) and headed out. I decided to go one block more, not realizing that the next block was an elongated parallelogram, so I ended up close to 10 miles!
5. Once I started I was hooked, and ran early mornings as I traveled for work – over the 2.5 years I was at my first job I ran in MA, CT, NY, NJ, WV, GA, MS, FL, IL, MI, CA and Germany. And probably other places I’ve forgotten.
6. I wasn’t as early morning at first, starting at 5AM … 4AM came after we moved to Townsend in 1995, and particularly after we had kids.
7. Lisa tried to join me when we first moved into an apartment in Acton, but quickly declared it ‘cold, dark and scary’ and never tried again. Now between joint issues and arthritis it will never happen.
8. Running safety came early – in Acton we lived on ‘Great Rd’, which is Rte 2A – a very busy road and poorly lit. Safety and awareness was key.
9. I have always been a year-round runner, gearing up for whatever came my way.
10. Until 2012 my running shoes were whatever was on sale/clearance for <$50 at the mall and was comfortable.
11. Until 2012 I ran in cotton t-shirts and basic shorts, and my thermal layers were non-wicking … I went cheap on clothes as well.
12. Four ‘firsts’ on my wedding day:
– First weekend run
– First run with someone else (my brother)
– First daylight run
– Oh yeah, I got married 🙂
13. In Townsend, we lived in the ‘snow belt’ and would routinely get >12″ storms. I would regularly run in those.
14. There are no running pictures of me before May 2012.
15. Running when traveling for work can be loads of fun – with Shipley I got annual winter runs in San Jose in February as part of the SPIE conference. The hotels were always in great spots for running.
16. I have never had a ‘running injury’ – I have gotten a few bumps and bruises, including being pushed into a ditch a couple of weeks ago that had me take an extra rest day, but
17. Having my thyroid die has changed everything – my running, energy, and how I deal with cold.
18. Before this winter the coldest temperature I had run in was -10F. Now I have run several below -10, a few lower than -20 and the coldest was below -25F. If I never have to do THAT again it will be just fine!
19. I honestly feared being laughed at and coming in dead last in my first 5K.
20. Total wardrobe shift – It has gotten to the point where last fall my kids asked ‘are you going for a run’ after I had just showered after a long run … and then said ‘at this point, pretty much all of your casual clothes look like running clothes’.
21. ‘Crashing’ at the end of my first half-marathon taught me two things: I had no clue about fueling, and I had no clue about actually being hungry.
22. Probably the most fun running away from home was either trail running the side of a mountain at 8500ft elevation in Park City UT in 2012, or running the Silver Strand on Del Coronado in 2013.
23. A few stats:
– My longest ‘streak’ was 65 days, which I have talked about before
– My longest run was ~28.35 in fall 2012, then 27.75 in 2013
– My pace now is ~33% faster than when I restarted in 2012.
24. I cannot say enough about the support of my family – they have been there to support me tremendously, but also give me a rough time and the occasional reality check.
25. I had a great run today, and can't wait for my long Saturday run tomorrow!
How long have you been running and what have you learned?
I couldn’t remember exactly how many years I’d been running until I sat down and counted them. My first 5k was in 2008 and I really hadn’t done much running before that, so I’ve got a little less than six years running for real! Crazy! Love this list – and I don’t know about you, but I see a clear improvement in my life since beginning to run
Do you even have to ask if I’ve seen an improvement in my life? 🙂 I absolutely do – I remember running my first marathon hearing how many people were running after going through loss – divorce, death, whatever … for me after weight loss it was always the feeling, the joy of running. And that joy reflects back into my life.
I don’t think I should go onto everything I have learned but just a few:
-LISTEN to your body
-When it doubt take it slow
-Easy days need to be easy
-Strength train (For me it keeps me healthy)
-Don’t forget to enjoy the run
-It’s going to be hard, but it’s worth it!
I started running in 2006 off and on… now I am hooked and I can’t wait to get back into a normal schedule !
Thanks Sara – it has definitely been a roller-coaster for you, and I really hope that with all you have learned you can stay injury free for the forseeable future. I think one key is what you mention – ‘enjoy the run’. I think that is a hugely important thing! For casual non-pro runners, that is what it should ALL be about – well, fitness, health and so on … but also the pure joy of running.
#3!!! That’s exactly how I felt! It’s really so amazing. What a great list! Happy 25 years to you!
My 1 year run-iversary is coming up next month and the most important thing I’ve learned is that I’m not invincible. I would never say that I’m glad I got injured, but it definitely has put some things into perspective for me. I needed to learn how to sit down.
Thanks so much! And guess where I ‘wrote’ most of this list over the past weeks … yeah, on my runs (well, at least the ones where I wasn’t just focused on not freezing to death!). 🙂
And I know it has to suck to be hurt right now, but you are right that it is sometimes instructive (as well as sucking). I just hope you get better soon!
I’ve been running since 2003-4. I think-that’s when my Mom convinced me to do my first 10k. I finally started loving it a few years back and now it’s full steam ahead!
Awesome – did she run with you? … I really hope to drag one of my kids with me someday for a 5K or something … it is on my ‘bucket list’ …
Yes! She’s the person who got me into running. She has been a runner most of my life, and I was a chubby uncoordinated teen. Finally in my early 20’s I felt confident enough to try to run and we did that first race together. I’ll have to #TBT the photo of us nearing the finish line next week!
That is so awesome! (I’m totally jealous in case it isn’t coming through!) Can’t wait for your #TBT!
Photo caption was my favorite part of this post, so true! No. 10 was most surprising. No. 22 was most intriguing. I may do my own version of this in 15.2 years!
Thanks so much … it is funny how little I really was willing to put into running financially for so many years. I think it really reflected my attitude about it in many ways – it was a tool, not a passion.
Loved your list! I’m sill relatively new to this (3ish years??) but watching the Boston Marathon was a big inspiration for my starting. It’s amazing to consider how much has changed in just those few years. Also, I love Acton and Rte 2A. Pretty dangerous to run on, I’m sure, but a nice view too!
We moved out of there in the mid-90s before the second ‘big boom’ hit the area, but have always loved the Acton area!
#20 is awesome, the wardrobe shift, and even funnier how the kids react. Your caption on the title image rings home. I haven’t told my wife and daughter yet, but at the finishline of my first marathon, they’re both going to get the sweatiest hug ever!
Haha … and they will be so proud and happy that they won’t even realize what they got into at first! 🙂
Congratulations, Michael! You are really a running inspiration … I hope that after 25 years of running, I still love it as much as you do!
Thanks – and one of my big things with the whole ‘ebb & flow’ is that there are few people who can maintain ‘passion status’ forever on things. Especially as things like kids and houses and new jobs and who knows what else comes along …