Am I a fraud, a poseur, a charlatan for daring to write a blog about running? When the year 2010 began, I wasn’t running at all. In fact, I wasn’t doing much of anything in the way of exercise unless you count 16 (and sometimes 22) ounce curls at the bar. I was over 40, overweight, under-motivated and sinking into a deep depression. I had started smoking again. In general I was in pretty bad shape and headed straight toward getting even worse.
Sometime in the spring a spark I thought had been extinguished reignited within my soul. Suddenly I began running again. I don’t know why it happened. I can’t explain it.
I guess that was a lie.
I didn’t start running, not right at first. I decided it might be nice to take a stroll around the park in the spring morning, and so I did. It was nice. I did it again. Then all of a sudden I decided to take off running.
The first day was complete hell.
I think I may have made it about a quarter of a mile before I decided it was time for a walk break. But I kept going. On September 25, 2010 I kept going for 9 hours through insane Appalachian terrain to complete my first 50k.
Less than nine months from zero to hero.
Yeah, that’s right, I just called myself a hero. After that transformation, I think I deserve to be my own hero. I can’t run the fastest or the farthest, but I defeated my own demons and that makes me my own knight in shining armor. I think I deserve to give myself a big pat on the back. But I am not alone.
Plenty of people have gone through the same transformation. Every single one of them deserves to be called a hero. They are my heroes even more so than the top elite ultramarathon runners like Scott Jurek and Anton Krupicka. I hope that through this blog I might meet and write about some of those heroes that you won’t read about in the magazines and ultrarunning blogs. But I want to do more than that.
Every run has a story. I write in my head when I run. I’ve always done that. It is an irresistible impulse. Trail running is often a solo adventure, even during a race. The essay forming in my head keeps me company. That is a good thing, because if ever I do a 100 miler I will be alone with my thoughts and my pain and my footsteps for 24 hours.
This blog will be a running story of the adventures and calamities of my after-40 running career and of other zero-to-hero runners that befriend me along the way. I hope that somebody somewhere will read this and realize that being your own hero only requires a stubborn refusal to give up.
Yes, you can do it too. Just keep going.