I vividly remember when I first started running in 1980 and ran my first Marathon in 1983. Had very little training back then but lots of heart. Same heart that has kept me going through the years from a heavy-set teenager at 17 up until this very day; today, March 17, that I turn 53.
Through the years I have witnessed running grow steadily in popularity. Oftentimes, I wonder where did all these runners come from? Why do they continue to grow? What motivates them? I guess each story is different as it was for me 33 years ago. As the running revolution grew, I also experienced my own personal growth. I have survived the awkward tween years, bad breakups and other misadventures of youth. Five decades of experiences has taught me a few life lessons such that any mistakes I made along the way need not be repeated. All of those years, every single one of the building block moments that together constitute my life, brought me here. And through it all, I kept on RUNNING....
At 53, I am fully aware that my body is not up to par to compete with the younger generation and believe me, I certainly have no desire to do so. I may have "aged" in years but the spirit remains as strong as that day I took my first running steps. Through the years, I have evolved into a different kind of runner. Whether it is 0ºC and freezing or 40ºC and sweltering outside, whether theres a raging storm or a flash flood warning, I will figure out a way to get in the miles motivated by the pure joy I derive from running. It is an inseparable part of who I am with seemingly nothing to ever hold me back. For me, I run like I have to breathe.
I'm glad to have been part of the “running revolution“ way back when and grateful to still be a part of it today. I sincerely hope I have played a part in influencing others to view running as not just a sport but also experience the joy that they can derive from it. This new generation of runners likewise inspire me and make me realize that I, and others before me, have to now pass the torch, so to speak, in the hope that they are willing and able to rekindle the flame, keep it burning and pass it on. That, for me, is the greatest gift to myself today.
Happy Birthday to me!
“There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.”
-George A. Sheehan