Eight year runniversary

On July 11, 2013 I went for my first run. My week had started with the intention to ride my bike, lose weight, and get healthier. I tried riding my bike for half a mile on July 9th. I made it half a mile and my hip started hurting to the point where I couldn’t ride the bike. I made myself ride eight miles the next day. Same thing. Hip hurt.

Hell bent on my newfound quest for cardio health, I decided that if I couldn’t ride, I would try to run. So in the early afternoon of July 11th, I walked up the hill to the local middle school track and I ran 1 mile as fast as I could, just to see if I could do it.

Here is the recount of that very first run back in 2013.

I’m now officially entering week 6 of my training block for the Boston Marathon. For most of last week and intentionally remembered that my 8-year runniversary was coming up on Sunday. I looked at my training plan mid-week and noted that I had a 14-miler planned for my 8th runniversary. However, yesterday morning, and all during that 14-miler, I’d totally forgotten that it was my runniversary. I guess it’s not as big of a deal as I have it made up in my head.

Yesterday’s 14-miler was a slog. I didn’t get out until after 10 a.m., so it was still, humid and hot. The first hour wasn’t too bad as there was cloud cover, but after that hour, the sun poked out and it got hotter. I intentionally took it slow, but I was dogging it. It probably didn’t help that I’d spent 12 hours and driven 500 miles the day before driving to and from Big Sandy to pick Maly up from camp, and then didn’t get my run in until the early evening on Saturday.

It’s hard to believe that 8 years have already passed. It’s funny – when I first started running and getting enthusiastic about all things running, I rabidly consumed articles and videos about running. I was teaching myself everything about running. I very vividly remember reading some article about how a runner peaks or plateaus at around 7 years. And that number has stuck in my head. Honestly I don’t hold 7 years as some kind of truth. If anything, I see it as a kind of challenge. An opportunity to dispel some old wives’ tale. But in a way, I’m kind of embracing it too. I did some pretty cool “peak” things when I hit my 7-year mark in running. I did things I never set out to do when I started running. I ran two of my fastest marathons and I ran a 50-mile trail race.

Is it all downhill from here? Is it uphill? Honestly, I don’t really mind either way. I might have another sub-3 marathon in me. But I don’t really have a reason to run 26 miles that fast. I’ve done that. I could PR in some shorter distances. Or I could hit the trails again and go farther. Or both. And sprinkle in some other things. I don’t know. I have no plans as of this moment.

And that’s one of the coolest things about running. You can always set some new kind of goal(s). Or not set any goals at all and just get out and run for the hell of it.

I wasn’t even thinking about it when I walked through the doors. I’d driven over to 7-11 yesterday to get a couple fountain drinks for Elise and me. There was an employee standing behind a table toward the back of the store. She said, “here are the cups for the free Slurpees.” I stood there for a second and then said out loud, “Oh, yeah. Today is 7-11.”

You can’t really pass up free Slurpees. And that’s the prize for running for 8 years. A couple free Slurpees. Personally, I think that’s a little excessive.