Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why I Started Running

One of the questions I typically get from non-runners is, Why? What's the point of logging all those miles in all sorts of bad weather. I was reminded of this when Laura posted about how she first fell into running. Everyone has their own story about how it happened. For Laura, it began during an internship in Florida.

My running story began in Washington, DC, in 1999. I'd lived there for about a year and half, mostly unhappily. Some people love Washington; I wasn't one of those people. I had my first job out of school, spending my days doing work of dubious value and living in basement apartments on Capitol Hill. I'd even started to become a social smoker, buying a pack on Friday, then putting it out on a newspaper box on the way to the Metro for a homeless person. At some point, I realized I needed something new. It turned out to be running.

I started just going for a jogs around a park near me on the southeast side of Capitol Hill. I probably ran about 20 minutes before feeling winded. But I knew the consistency was key. My goal: run five nights a week. This proved hard, partly because I was totally out of shape and partly since it was the start of summer in Washington. I kept at it. My shins would kill me, but I got hooked on how great I felt after a run. It was that summer in Washington -- my last, as it happened -- that I learned the No. 1 thing about running: I never felt worse after a run than I did before it.

Shockingly, I've now run for nearly nine years. In that time, I've run 13 marathons, including two 50Ks, come within 63 seconds of running a sub-3 hour marathon, and logged thousands of miles. The decision to start was the best and hardest decision during that time.

6 miles, 43: 40


Hella Sound said...

Brian, very inspiring post and site as a whole. We all have our own reasons for starting running (I'll probably blog about mine at some point), but I think your site's "pigdog" theme is on the money. That's what it's all about, isn't it? Thanks for sharing this.

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JayVee said...

Brian, love that "never felt worse after a run than I did before." That's exactly how I feel. My dad is a long time runner (20+) years and I never understood his dedication to the sport (sun, rain, snow, you name it), until I started seriously running (about 3 years now). It's liberating, it's a stress-reliever, and it makes me happy.

TunaTacoGrande said...

Interesting comments about leaving your leftover weekend smokes for a homeless person. I do the same here in NYC.