In keeping with tradition, or rather, attempting to start a tradition since this is only my second post, this entry is dedicated to a friend, Chris. Many came to mind when I began this post; my brother Curtis, my brother-in-law Jeremy, my friends Kyle and Ryan, my dad, my wife, and even my dog, Basher. You may be thinking a few things at this point; “Why the need to dedicate a blog post?” or “That’s an interesting list of people…I bet they’re awesome people if they’re mentioned in Collin’s blog.” First, they are all awesome people. Second, that would be a good question, regarding the dedication, but I would then go on to say, “What’s really the point of Collin’s blog in the first place?” In the famous words of Derek Zoolander, let me answer your question with a question: What are you doing here? Get a life…jk.
I have been running consistently for 4 – 4 1/2 years now. I grew up with a dad who was a “runner,” or at least that was his excuse to work on a tan and wear short, hot pink shorts. While I haven’t committed myself to any flashy shorts, I guess you could say running was in my genes. I really got in to the sport when I signed-up for a half-marathon as a Senior in college. Much of my inspiration came from one of my best friends, Kyle, who ran CC and track. Following his encouragement, I signed-up for the half-marathon which took place on the same day I graduated from college. Good idea or bad idea? I’ll let you be the judge. Since then, I’ve completed a handful of half-marathons and even one full marathon. I hope to complete more before my time on earth is done.
I enjoy running. I enjoy the exercise. I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the individual aspect of running, you don’t have to be on a team to do it. I like the fact that running doesn’t discriminate; all shapes and sizes can run. I enjoy the benefits of running; healthy blood pressure, low cholesterol, and the satisfaction Dunkin Donuts can bring after a run on the Monon. Running has it’s downsides as well, though. It’s time consuming; it sometimes causes aches and pains; it’s tiring; it’s monotonous; it can be lonely.
Just recently some of these “downsides” were starting to take a toll on me. I was beginning to feel a little burn-out with this whole “running” thing. I completed a half-marathon in January and have been training for another half in May. I’m not sure if it was the Midwest Winter weather or just the exhaustion, but I was becoming disenchanted with the sport. That was until I stopped by Chris’ office this past Tuesday. It was shortly after 1:00 PM and Chris had just returned from his lunch break, where he had completed a 5-mile run. He may or may not be a self-proclaimed “runner” by this point, I’m not sure. I do know that he has just recently picked-up running, though, and was pretty jazzed to discuss the run. Seeing the excitement in Chris’s face and hearing it in his voice was a great reminder of the power of running, and the sense of accomplishment it bestows upon those of us who complete a 1-, 3-, 5-, or 26.2-mile run.
As I got up this morning at 5 AM to prepare for my 10-mile run, I was reminded of Chris, and the excitement and energy of our discussion just a few days earlier. I thought to myself, “Collin, no one’s forcing you to go on this run, but God gave you two legs, and a heart that still beats, so why not? You’re not terrible at this, and you know the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after the run will far outweigh the information derived from fifteen episodes of SportsCenter.” And with that, I was off…
If you are a runner or someone thinking about picking it up, and you need some inspiration, here are a few reading recommendations. First, the book “Once A Runner” by John L. Parker, Jr. is an amazing, fictional book about running. It’s an easy read, but also an exciting one. It follows somewhat of a Steve Prefontaine-esque collegiate runner and his determination to break the 4-minute mile. It’s a lot of fun to read, and also very inspiring. Runner’s World, in their December ’09 edition, rated it as the #1 book about running. If you’re in need of something a little more tangible, real, I would recommend Dean Karnazes‘ “Ultra Marathon Man.” This guy is downright amazing. This is an autobiography focusing on Dean’s start to endurance racing and concluding with a 200-mile race he completed in the fall of 2000. Since then he has completed distances greater than that; he’s a freak of nature. Granted, not everyone is cut out for the type of racing he’s into, I get that. However, there is a lot to take away from his book, even if you’re just a casual runner/jogger. It really forces you to think about and challenge your own limitations, physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.
You may not be a runner, and it’s OK if you’re not. We all find enjoyment in different activities, hobbies, etc. Whatever “running” is for you, though, I encourage you to grab it by the horns and get all that you can out of it. Make it fun, and know that obstacles are inevitable, but perseverance always pays. I’m not sure when this post turned in to a motivational speech. It certainly wasn’t my intention, but hey, it is what it is. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.