Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When did you become a runner?

As we proceed through another running clinic and I meet lots of new runners I am constantly asked when did you become a runner.  It is a tough question for me to answer because honestly I became a runner at the age of 9 and then took a LOA before I came back full time at the age of 32.

I have always loved sports and particularly running.  When I was 9 I happened to transfer to a great school in Manitoba and joined the Cross Country team - it was love at first run.  The coach was amazing and inspired - I wish I could remember his name.  We would run 2x a week after school and then in the winter we would train in the mornings doing laps around the gym which would bring us to the spring and track and field.  I just felt free. 

In Grade 6 our coach decided that we were such a great group of runners that our goal would be to run in the Manitoba Marathon - we would train all year and on race day we would run 4 miles.  Back then the Manitoba marathon had buses every 2 miles starting at the 4 mile marker to take people to the finish if they wanted to stop.  We were 10 and 11 years old and had no idea how far everyone else would be running but were so excited to be in a grown up race.  I remember my mom saying wow - you ran 4 miles in 20 minutes!  (wish I could do that now...) and the t-shirt was a pale yellow shirt with a scoop neck.  I loved that shirt and wore it with such pride. 

The next year we moved and I was in high school.  Again I was lucky to get into a school with an AMAZING running program.  It was a dream year for me - cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and track and field in the spring.  I was running minimum 3 times a week all year long and I signed up on my own to do 6 miles in the Manitoba Marathon - which I did. 

The next summer  we moved to BC and I was so excited to join a new Cross country team and meet new runners.  The first practice 2 people showed up and the coach was barely interested.  Needless to say there was not a lot of support - I quickly became discouraged and moved on to another sport where there was more support  - Field hockey was the sport of choice and that was when I took a LOA frum running.

I did not stop running - I would say I dabbled in it - there was no consistency but when life became really tough running was my fall back position - a way to release and just escape.  I stayed active  - I played softball and was a gym monkey but something was always missing.

At 32 Joe insisted I quit smoking - I quasi quit but the weight started piling on.  I started to think about things to do to lose it - lifting weights and doing circuit training was not really working and well Joe was not going to let me go back to smoking  and then this crazy idea about a 1/2 marathon entered my brain and I went for it and have not looked back.    From the first run I felt that old freedom and it was amazing, I was hooked again.  The bike is becoming like that but running is always the first love - mostly because I just have to put on shoes and go - I don't have to check tire pressure, make sure I have tubes, CO2, and such.  I just go out the door and run.  It is truly liberating and why I love running so much. 

When did I become a runner - September, 1978, Athlone Elementary school, WPG Manitoba - 9 years old was when I became a runner.  When did you?

Peace out Shaun

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