I’m not a new runner.
In fact, I’m not a good runner, if you judge by my times.
But I am consistent, and that makes me a runner.
It’s been more than ten years since I first ran as a form as exercise. It didn’t go well! Like so many, I ended up in more pain than I ever would have imagined. I thought, running is so simple, how can it hurt? But there was a lot to learn.
The first thing I needed to learn was where should I run? There were a few choices- a track at a local high school, a paved trail, or a city park. Or the streets. I chose the paved trail because it was flat, secluded, a relatively short distance of about one mile between street crossings, and it was near my home. And of course, I drove there.
After I had a chance to heal from my first aches and pains, I figured I had to be outfitted in the right way. But I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, just in case I decided to give up this craziness. My biggest expense was (and still is) a good pair of shoes. Not that I am particularly brilliant, but it was the first thing I read on just about every article on running. Next, I dug up shorts and old T-shirts, as one of the best parts of the running culture is that you can dress however you like. At least that’s what I think, and I really don’t care how it looks! Later, I was fortunate to find an MP3 player with a stopwatch- this was long before the iPod or smart phones. Come to think of it, I actually started running with one of those bulky cassette players, a Walkman. Still, I was obsessed with times, not that it ever helped me get any better.
And so, that was the beginning.
In two weeks, I’ll try my first marathon.
I’m no longer running on that small trail, and I use the city streets to take me from one city park to the next. No driving to a starting point anymore. The St Louis streets are my path.
I regard myself as a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to joining clubs or groups. And I still run alone almost all the time. But along the way, I keep getting drawn further and further into the running culture.