More than 50 years ago I started running. For real. I often tell the story about how I ran one season of Cross Country in high school at the urging of a couple of friends who, like me, were going to sit the bench in football. We got a late start, joining the team after classes resumed, without the benefit of summer training or experience. At our first practice we were told to run together, just the three of us, from the high school out to a point approximately 2 miles from the school and return. The walk home from school following practice that day, another 1.5 miles, was torture. A few days later we ran our first race in Middleboro and as you might suspect, we finished behind ALL our teammates. It took a month for us to feel comfortable, but we eventually moved up to the middle of the pack and even performed very well in JV meets.
It was with that high school experience in mind, and at the ripe old age of 27, I ventured out of my apartment one evening and ran 2 miles. It took me 20 minutes, hurt like hell, but I felt that I'd like to try it again. The next day I did. It still hurt and I didn't improve but I felt just a little better than the previous evening. For me, it was the beginning of a lifelong journey. Ultimately, I joined the YMCA, bought some decent running shoes, and spent some time nearly every day running along Quincy Shore Drive. A few months later I ran my first 10K race, finishing in an unimpressive, but extremely satisfying, 42:12. As a result, I became extremely curious as to what, if any, potential I had, and I decided to set some goals for myself. Modest goals at first. Easily achievable. It worked. I ran for 50 years, continually setting new goals for myself and accomplishing most. My point? Simply, that if I can do it, anybody can! I believe the keys to my half-century love for running, were borne in two things . . . my curiosity and my setting of minor, attainable goals. Everybody you know can do the same. Please encourage them. I had no expectations, and thus was never discouraged. My results were not all that good (my PRs are almost laughable actually), but I LOVED running. Still miss it every day.
I have different goals today, some of which revolve around coaching kids in a sport that I know is wonderful. So wonderful in fact, I can't understand why all kids aren't doing it.
The last couple of days I've been cleaning out my running "junk." Clothing, memorabilia, awards. I'll save a handful, and I'll always find some neon items to wear. But now my goal is to be there when you return WH XC to prominence. That will be the most satisfying medal of all . . .