Back in ancient times, when television shows were consumed one episode at a time, it was not uncommon to gather in front of the TV to enjoy one’s favorite television show only to find the characters sitting on the couch, in a bar or the coffee shop (I’m looking at you Friends) reminiscing about things. These episodes rarely advanced the plot and seemingly served no purpose other than satisfying some requirement for a “new” episode while allowing the producers to save money by reusing old footage.
If you’re a long time reader of this blog, this is just like one of those episodes. The only difference is that I’m not saving any money. I still have to write this post. Also, I’m pretty sure I don’t have any long term readers left so I guess it serves as a good “catch up” for anyone who just happens to stumble by.
Yesterday, I pulled up this blog for the first time in a very long time and for some reason clicked on the first post. I started reading. It drew me in. I clicked on the next post and kept going. I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed or proud to say that I proceeded to read each and every post.
It was a trip down memory lane to be sure. It was emotional. I actually started to cry a little bit when I read my post about the 2008 Walt Disney World marathon. I was so incredibly proud of the contrast between that post and my redemption at the 2009 Walt Disney World Half-Marathon. I remember being in good shape by the time I peaked at the 2010 Walt Disney World Half-Marathon, but now I know why. Looking back at all of those workouts, I wonder where I found the energy.
There are some great stories and great friends in there. I’ll never forget the restroom relay with Richie and Justin, or the day I got lost in Rainbow Village and missed my daughter Alice tripping over a hurdle in one of her first track meets. Speaking of my 12 year old daughter Alice, she ran most of the way through high school, but developed an injury senior year. She’s 20 now. My 11 year old daughter Wendy is now my 19 year old son, Elliott. Many things have changed. I now work for an insurance company and I haven’t run a race in nearly 3 years. You could say the one constant in my life has been Raffi, who I’ve been married to for almost 21 years.
There are some surprising things that never get mentioned too. Around the time I stopped posting regularly, I started running with Dan. I’ve run with him most Saturdays for the last 5 years and he’s become one of the best friends I’ve ever had. He gets no mention in the blog, though. There’s also Katie, who ran with us for at least 2 of those years before moving out of town. She also gets no mention in the blog. If someday this blog were all that was left of my memories, it would be sad that they were left out. The long runs, conversations and fun trivia nights with them have been important parts of my life.
Some things from my early running days made me laugh. I referred to my watch as a “chronograph” and always did a 1 mile warm-up before all my training runs. This was especially counter productive when it was near 100 degrees outside. I took an ice bath after a 6 mile run. I often did long run and race reports in present tense, and then made fun of myself for doing it. I kept doing it and probably still will. My readers seemed to enjoy the race reports (and to be honest, I guess I did too).
There were some lofty goals never met. At one point, I had a goal of 1:15 in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, but I was pretty ecstatic to peak at 1:29. I even said I was running the Goofy Challenge and then never mentioned it again.
I wrote a post pondering the identity of M.H. Alderson, who was quoted as saying “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average”. Three years later, his family members started commenting on it, letting me know what and awesome guy he was. I’m still amazed about that.
Reading through all the posts, I was a able to put a lot of those memories into my life’s context. Running really helped me through the last few months of finishing my Ph.D. A meme from another runner made me ponder how I would live as an independently wealthy runner. Then, I actually pulled it off even though I wasn’t independently wealthy. I started a website, brought a bunch of people together to run relays, met a whole lot of great people (and some crazy ones). I am so grateful for that time because I was able to travel, meet new people and see a lot of the country at a time when I otherwise would not have been able to afford it. I miss it sometimes, but when I walked away from it, it was the right time.
I’m not the runner I once was and this blog is no longer all about running, but “A Runner’s Blog” is still appropriate. Over the last 10 years, running has been a lot of things for me: a fitness activity, a competition, a social outlet, therapy, a job and more. I hope it continues to be in the future. Over the last three years, I’ve embarked on a more traditional career path. There’s a lot I like about it, but some things I don’t. I’m striving to get back to the “independently wealthy runner” lifestyle within the context of my new career. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work more from home and though the circumstances that led to that opportunity were not entirely positive, I’m happy to be in a more flexible environment. Spending less time commuting (especially during my most productive morning hours) has made a huge difference in my mental state. I’m grateful to have an employer that is willing to be so flexible.
So, I’ve started running more. I hope to start blogging more. Even if no one reads, I think I’ve discovered that this journal helps me to look back and put my memories in context. Often when I remember good times, I forget the obstacles I overcame to reach them. During the challenging times, this blog is a reminder that I’ve been there before and come out on top!