I was not always a runner. Far from it, actually. The majority of athletic activities that I experienced during the first two decades of my life were pixel-based, courtesy of the latest release from EA Sports (it’s in the game). By the time I became enamored with endurance sports – first cycling and then running – I was already well past my “quarter life crisis.” As someone who spent his formative years doing everything he could to avoid exercise, I’m sure everyone was surprised by my adult-onset-athleticism.
So, I was not a natural born runner, per se, but I was a natural born explorer. I have always loved travel and I have always enjoyed the journey as much as the destination. It was this love of the journey that initially got me on my bike and finally drew me to long distance running. Working a demanding office job that often saw me anchored to my desk for 8 to 12 hours at a time, running has become a much needed release. In these painfully synthetic times, running has been a chance to feel alive, to feel human.
In the beginning, running races was the farthest thing from my mind. This changed when I discovered my hometown’s “Beer Series,” a trio of races named after Cincinnati’s brewing heritage and filled with all manner of beer-related rewards. I ran my very first race in May of 2013: the Little Kings Mile (rebranded as the “Fifty West Mile” in 2019). I stood terrified waiting for that first race to start. Could I keep running for an entire mile? Spoiler alert: I could. I ran my first marathon a year later, finishing the 2014 Flying Pig in an embarrassing five hours. I ran my second marathon roughly six months later and finished in four and a half hours.
This blog is the warts-and-all account of my evolution as a better-late-than-never endurance athlete. My progress has been slow, my personal records are all modest, my finishing times unremarkable, but that hasn’t made the journey any less fulfilling.
Where is all of this running taking me? In my dream of dreams, to Boston at some point in the next decade. Unrealistic? Definitely. But if that’s what keeps me running, then I’ll keep chasing that dream and see where it leads me…