I grew up in Toronto, Canada on the snow and in the water. We spent our winters skiing and boarding, and summers swimming, sailing or boarding. Unfortunately, I moved to an urban campus for my undergrad in Boston, and dorm rooms were not meant for boards. Lacking the funds to keep or borrow a sailboat on the Charles River, I joined the crew team my freshman year. This was the first time I was made to run regularly, and I hated it. It didn’t help that practice was at 5:30 in the morning.
Later that spring the Boston marathon roared through town, and that’s the first time running entered my consciousness as an activity one would elect to do for its own sake. That seed was watered now and then by friends who liked to bandit Boston, or who inexplicably ran when they didn’t have to. Mostly it lay dormant until I went off to grad school, where I had difficulty finding time to take a breath.
When faced with a stress situation, I flee. Since running shoes are cheaper than gas, I ran a lot in grad school. I didn’t have a crystallising moment of recognition. Over time the miles became less charged with adrenalin and more soothing in spite of my haphazard attempts, and I eventually noticed that I liked it even when I wasn’t running away from my thesis. The little seed from my freshman spring germinated — it seemed natural that if I liked running, I should race. I wasn’t quite naive enough to believe I should run a marathon, but I found and joined a running club. The DC-Baltimore area has a big running scene, with many veteran runners. That opened a flood of experienced advisors, my first races, track workouts and training plans.
I ran my first race almost 7 years ago, but my development as a runner has had a couple of interruptions which I touched on in these two posts. I’m currently re-building from my most recent 18-month absence and running about 40 miles a week in Toronto.