Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reflections on a Decade

We look back on the year when we roll the calendar over each winter, or perhaps on our birthdays as we mark another age gone by. Moments to consider larger chunks of time -— like a decade —- are rarer.

Ten years ago, I was a college sophomore. I ran track, but my dedication waned around this time and I eventually quit the team to pursue activities such as editing the college paper and drinking. I was good at both of them. I still ran here and there, however, it would take moving to Santa Cruz five years later to really get me back into a routine.

Now I've run seven marathons and one ultra, and running is something I know I will never forsake again. It's a place where I -- and a lot of us, I believe -- find strength and sanity.

I remember the crushing defeat a decade ago of trying to run 10 miles of hills on a warm summer day. An elderly couple hiking took such pity on me, they offered to drive me back to town (I still ran). Looking back, I probably wasn't fit enough but I also didn't think I could. By comparison, last weekend's 18-mile run with a 10K race smushed in the middle was a challenge but not un-doable. In fact, we had a pretty good time.

So of course time makes us wiser and we learn from our mistakes. I wonder what would be different had I stuck with racing in college. Would I be faster now? Or would I have given it up when I graduated? Most importantly, would it still be this much fun?

What are you searching for?

"So be prepared to quit. Do it willingly and with honest resolve. You'll be back. The marvelous thing about running is that you will never become jaded by it. Boredom, injury or anguish may overtake you from time to time, but the reward that first drew you to begin logging the miles remain untarnished and available -- always. Just put on your shoes and head out the door."