I have a shirt that loudly proclaims this exclamation from my time as high school cross country runner. I loved to run then. I liked standing out. I liked excelling in something most people hated to participate in. I enjoyed the confusion and amazement on my peers faces as they happened to be caught up in the whirlwind of hundreds of scantily clad racers thundering past in 40° weather. I lost some of that enjoyment during college. I made the decision to not compete at the collegiate level in order to give myself the opportunity to commit full-time to my academic studies and still allow for as much free-time and socializing as possible. I do not regret this decision as many strong friendships and new passions arose from those times which I would otherwise be preparing for various competitions. I have come to miss it though.
I have tried a few times to enter back into The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, but each time I am thwarted by the desire to participate in events that gather a larger crowd. Partially for this reason I have developed a strong passion for Mountain Biking as a primary means of connecting with nature and passing time with friends. But the urge is still there.
Eight weeks ago my wife joined a running class sponsored by a local running/walking outfitter store in Pittsford, NY called Medveds. The ultimate goal of the class was to enable each participant to complete a 5 mile race at the end of the course. My wife had competed in Track and Field and played Field Hockey into college, but had never participated in a cross-country style event. Even while we dated in high school she was one of the spectators with confusion and amazement on her face as, in her opinion, the 400 meter dash was too much distance to race.
I watched her go to practice and come back with stories of workout routines and developing camaraderie among the participants within the class. I knew that was what I missed. I enjoy distancing myself during competitions and am able to compete as an individual but, in preparation for those events, without a group of like-minded individuals to encourage and support the efforts I am incapable of gathering the motivation necessary to continue training and pass the miles under my feet.
My wife had her race this past weekend and, as I expected, the urge returned. Fortunately, she enjoyed the run and plans to continue the distance regiment, which means I now have a companion to run with. She discovered a 5k race to take place 3 weeks from now in Seneca Falls, NY called the Its a Wonderful Run 5K. She asked if I would do it with her and although I was hesitant because I have not honestly run for purpose since high school, I am eager to re-enter the sport, so I agreed.
Besides, what better place to reconnect with a passion than on the decorated streets of the real Bedford Falls!