Saturday, September 21, 2013

On running: a personal history | chapter 1

The very first time I remember going out for a "run" was the summer before I began high school.  With a plan to try out for a few junior varsity sports, I took someone's advice to "get in shape," and went for a few brief jogs around the park near my home.

Four years later, I picked running back up.  A first year student in college, I found a new interest in regular exercise as a way to stay healthy (and maybe combat that legendary "freshman fifteen").  I planned out a 2 mile route in the small college town I lived in, and mixed running with walking to make it through.  In my first year, I ran about three days a week.  By my sophomore year, running at college disappeared, as a job, social activities, and student organizations took over my life.  In the summers, I worked during the day and ran in the evenings at the reservoir near my home.  Gradually, I began to develop a love of that evening exercise.  It represented freedom for me:  time to think, time to be alone, an often breathtaking few of the city I grew up in, and a surge of positive energy and health.

I spent the summer after college running regularly, and loving it.  My mileage was nothing to speak of, but I still enjoyed those quiet nights - while the sun dropped, I soaked up physical and mental energy.  When I moved to DC, my running quickly dropped off in favor of 90-hour work weeks, and then bounced back when I took a 9-5 job writing curriculum.  I moved to Capitol Hill and my 4-mile daily run took me to the Washington Monument and back.  Talk about inspiration.  It was here I fell in love with running.