I can often be found on the back roads and trails in our little corner of the Ozarks. I am a full time dad, husband, novice farmer, whole foods advocate, buy local supporter, admitted beer snob and dedicated runner. These are my musings, observations and reflections. Thanks for stopping by and cheers.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
My Running Background
I started running in grade school. Why? Because my dad was a runner and like most little boys I wanted to be like my dad. I can remember going on runs of 5 to 8 miles before school. I also played soccer for 15 years so I guess it was in my blood too. I kept it up through high school but seldom raced. In fact I can only recall a few races over several years. I was content just going out and running. In college I discovered beer and running was put on the back burner where it remained for a long time. After school I did some running here and there but nothing consistent. Back in 1999 I got pretty serious for a couple of years but was nagged by injury, the achilles. I trained for a marathon two years in a row and in the closing weeks of training it got me both times. Looking back I imagine it was due to increasing mileage too much too soon and running too fast. Then kids came, more career stuff, medical school for my wife and so forth. A few years ago I began again, running maybe 20 miles a week. Not much but at least it was pretty consistent. It wasn't until we moved back to Northwest Arkansas that it became a priority again. I found it to be such a great escape, a release, a way to maintain sanity. No cell phones, no iPods, no TV, in short, no distractions.
In short order I found a tremendously dedicated and friendly community of runners in the Bentonville area most associated with the Rush Running Team. Running buddies were made, group runs became a regular event, weekly speed workouts, weekend long runs and an introduction to proper trail running. With their help I have completed two marathons in the last year. The first was ugly (Mother Road Joplin Oct. 2010). In the second one I improved by 61 minutes (Cowtown Ft. Worth Feb. 2011). This October many of us are traveling to Minneapolis for the Twin Cities Marathon. I fully expect a significant drop in my PR again. I also completed my first Ultra at the War Eagle Festival this June. A 50k trail race out at Hobbs State Park. If my first marathon was ugly then War Eagle was fugly. Brutal but I finished. Thanks to some great support from those Rush guys. Now I have the endurance bug. The Bass Pro Dogwood Canyon 50k is on the table for this fall as is a Rock Creek 50 miler (Tennessee) in December and the Memphis St. Jude's marathon. However, a torn meniscus will dictate my race schedule for the remainder of the year.
I run now because I like the way it makes me feel. As much as I love group runs and make them a regular part of my routine nothing beats a solo trail run. I love the solitude, the changes in terrain, the sights and sounds. After Twin Cities I plan on dedicating next year to trail running. I would like to see how far I can go and how much I can improve. Call it wanderlust.