I joined the junior varsity cross country team my sophomore year of high school. It was my second year at a boarding school in New Hampshire, about an hour drive from my parent’s home in Massachusetts. There was something appealing about the beaten trails and rolling hills surrounding the beautiful campus that lured me away from junior varsity soccer. I wasn’t conflicted about the decision even though I’d enjoyed soccer for many years up to that point. Truthfully I was a middling player and not much of an athlete.
So I was fifteen years old when I took up running earnestly but by no means was I burning up the course. I admired the doe-like runners on the varsity team whom barely seemed to touch the ground as they rounded the turns and weaved through the woods around our school. I lacked their talent and strength but I wasn’t bothered by it. That was their thing. Running was becoming my thing, but even from the start running was about me, and for me. So I guess I wasn’t much of a team player. That’s probably true.
It was also the fall of 1995 and my father died of cancer in October. You might think that meant I missed a fair amount of the season but I didn’t. I went home the day he died and returned to school the following week. I didn’t want to be home. I wanted to be at school. And we had cross country practice every afternoon, and meets twice a week. So I ran through that fall and kept running, not for the track team, but each fall for the junior varsity cross country team. Those hills, those trails, those tree limbs and rocks.
Running has been a part of my life pretty much ever since.
I guess we should get one thing out of the way: I am not a great runner. I have never run a marathon under four hours. I have a hard time sustaining any run of any length under an 8 minute pace. My sweet spot is 9:15. I would like to be faster, but I am also kind of OK with this.
So what kind of runner does that make me? And what kind of running blog will this be? It makes me the kind of runner that runs to live. My brain, heart, lungs, and legs know running. I breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth as the miles tick by.
You cultivate a running state of mind the more time you spend running. This is blog about my mind. My mind on running.