Running is a simple activity that can elicit a complex discussion. The conversation is usually initiated by a self-proclaimed “runner” and starts with the most basic question, “Are you a runner?” The answer actually requires some thought.
“I don’t know. Is something chasing me?”
What the querier is ultimately trying to find out is whether or not you enjoy the activity of running, most often at some sort of competitive level, and do you both now have a common plane from which to relate and chat.
With that preface established, I did not start out life as a runner. I usually fight giving a straight forward answer of yes when asked. I actually ran distance track for two years in high school, consisting of the 1 mi. and 2 mi. races, which seemed like a trek across town when running in a monotonous oval. But that brief blip of winged feet was short lived, suppressed deep into muscle memory until meeting a woman in California who ended up my wife. She’s a cross-country girl at heart and loves to pound pavement as a way to recharge. Through much prodding, kicking and early mornings, she convinced me to stride for miles alongside her regularly. So, the truth is, nowadays I am a runner.
Morning runs for exercise evolved into self-inflicted competitive times against my iPhone app and soon materialized into a bucket-list item….”Could I run a half marathon?”
The stage from which to validate the task at hand came in the form of my alma maters’ first attempt at an annual 13.1 mile shared journey, the Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon on 10/20/12. What a perfect match. Their first half and my first half. We trained. We traveled. We ran and got our medals. I even beat my target goal.
I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the gratification at the end of the race. Riding that sense of accomplishment, we immediately debated what race would be next, and the Santa to the Sea Half Marathon popped up numerous times like Santa from a chimney. The idea dropped to the wayside a bit, but in a late decision, I decided to run. Last year we ran the relay, so I wanted to see the other half of the course. I also joined the FOOD Share Fast Foodies in an effort to raise a little money for our EBH partners, FOOD Share of Ventura County.
The morning of the run, I ate my pre-race toast, laced up my shoes and headed for the course. At the start line, I dropped off my toy donation for the race’s Toys for Tots drive and did my best to warm up a bit. And yes, my toy was food focused. I am the Hungry Man after all.
The course was fast, the costumes were festive and during more than one heavy breath I found myself thinking about the hungry people being helped by FOOD Share and my run.Talk about motivation. Must have worked because I beat my Purdue time by almost 4 minutes.
It has been a pinch over a week since my jaunt with Santa. The water stations have been taken down and the toys have all been delivered, but the satisfaction of crossing the finish line is prominent. There is something fulfilling about acknowledging the challenge and distance you’ve just tackled, especially when those efforts make a difference in someone else’s life as well. So get out there and run. Run for health. Run for a cause. Run for yourself. Run for someone else. Run because….